Anyone who has done genealogy research has come up against at least one brick wall…and like any stubborn fool we keep pounding on that wall hoping to burst through. I have several “brick wall’s” but my longest and most difficult one – might be my great great grandfather, Moses Friddles.
Moses was born about 1826 probably in South Carolina. The first time I find mention of him in any records is on 9 Dec 1859 in Carter Co., TN where he marries Amanda T. McKee. When I first found this bit of information, I was troubled because the record was in Carter Co., TN and not Johnson Co., TN. With a little research, I found out that Johnson Co., TN didn’t exist at that time. In the 1860 census, Moses is recorded with his wife Amanda and three children. Julia b. 1852 in NC, Albert b. 1854 in NC and Thomas b. 1856 in NC, so there had to be a first wife probably in North Carolina. The next record that I find is that he married a Mary Ann Crosswhite on 29 Nov 1868 and I can find no trace of Amanda Mckee so I make the assumption that she probably died. Somehow or another – Moses and Mary Ann Crosswhite either divorced, separated or had the marriage annulled. She is still alive and lives until about 1917 in Johnson Co., TN. As far as I can tell, there are no children from either of these two marriages…and at this point I have no idea what the mysterious first wife’s name was. Moses then marries Martha “Mattie” E. Brown on 12 Oct 1878 in Johnson Co., TN. He is 52 years old and she is 16 years old. Mattie and Moses have six children: Roby b. 1879 d. bef 1898, Jesse b. 1881 d. aft 1920, Calia b. 1883 d. bef 1910, James b. 1884 d. 1928, Roy b. 1887 d. bef 1891 and David Carl (my great grandfather) b. 1889 d. 1955. Moses dies 11 Mar 1890 in Mountain City, TN. He is listed in the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule with the following notation: Moses S. Friddles - Private, Company M, 13th TN Cav. Fed; enlisted Feb. 2, 1864, discharged Sep. 5, 1865; length of service 1 year, 7 months 3 days. Post Office Address, Vaughtsville, TN, Disability incurred, chronic diarrhea, rheumatism, piles. He is buried at Hawkins Cemetery, Johnson Co. TN with a Civil War military stone.
|Moses Friddles - Hawkins Cemetery, Johnson Co., TN|
This is the most complete information that I have been able to find – I can locate him in the 1860, 1870, & 1880 census as well as the Veteran’s Schedule of 1890. However, I can find no trace of him in the 1850 census or any trace of him in any other record. From what I have gathered from his grandson (who knew very little about him) there was the story that Moses was actually a foundling child whose last name might have been Howard. Nothing I can find either supports this refutes this story…not only that – Moses had little to no money so there are no land records or wills that one can reference. However, he did have a military pension. For those who don’t know – pension records can be very expensive to get – I paid $40 to get his pension record about 10 years ago. It is interesting reading (what you can read – the handwriting is a bit difficult) but it raised more questions than answers. After Moses Friddle’s death, his wife continued to claim all of their children until she was caught claiming children who were no longer alive. She was also claiming children who didn’t live with her. In the 1900 census, my great grandfather David Carl, his sister Callie, and brother James are listed in other households as servants and Mattie is listed with her new husband. She loses the pension when it is also discovered that she had remarried. She dies sometime after 1904 and her burial location is unknown.
My next step is to try and get some information from a different source. I ordered the death records for both Albert Friddles and Julia Friddles Prestwood (David Carl’s older siblings) One of the records has no information on the mother and the other record lists Monday as the name of the wife. So…now at least I have an unknown wife with the last name of Monday. I find from Albert Friddles obit that the Friddle family moved from North Carolina to Vaughtsville at an early age which is in Johnson Co., TN. After a few years, I made contact with some descendants of James Friddles. They tell me that James was forced to give up his children by his second wife and when he was making plans to come out west, his second wife murdered him. The official record claims that it was suicide. Since he was poor and had no family who really cared, he was probably buried in a pauper’s grave and there was no further information on him.
In reality, I will probably never find where Moses Friddles came from or who his parents were. Of the possible 10 children that he fathered – I know information about four of those children. My great grandfather had a very close relationship with his older brother, Albert. I’m sure that he was a father figure to Pop Friddle (David Carl Friddle). Albert was actually 34 years older that Pop Friddle and was the one who encouraged him to come out west. In the early 1900’s, Albert’s sister Julia either left her husband or divorced, either way, her husband remarried back in North Carolina and Julia’s two children came west with her. Pop’s sister, Calia was married and died before 1910. James Blaine Friddles had several children and his wife died – when he remarried both of them agreed to give up their children. James did and the second wife didn’t. James was found alongside the road in 1928 as I mentioned earlier. My great grandfather never knew his father as he died when he was a year old. By the time he married in 1908 and left for Oregon in 1910, he virtually had no family in Tennessee and never had any interest in going back to visit.
When I first started researching Moses Friddles – I really only had a name. I’ve really only be able to establish certain details about his life gathered from census records, pension records, and marriage records. The sad fact is I may never discover much more. I’ve already asked anyone who might be connected only to find out that I was giving them information because they didn’t have anything. So, Moses remains a brick wall – I have a photo of him and his gravestone but little else. However, I will keep trying to knock that wall down – persistently trying to chink away the barriers. Who knows – I may still find the answers someday…of course at that point – there will be new questions!