Still confused by Willis Stallings, my 4x great-grandfather, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying solve the puzzle of Which Willis he is. I am Almost Certain that he is the oldest son of Shadrack Stallings.

5x great Shadrack was born around 1775 in Franklin County, North Carolina. In 1796 he married Elizabeth Walton and together they had two sons, Willis, born 1797, and Larkin, born 1800. Elizabeth died in 1806 at age 31, so I think there were more babies that didn’t survive, as most women back then gave birth every two years.

Shadrack remarried quickly and just as quickly he and his new wife, Nancy Jane, started putting out babies like clockwork. Between 1807 and 1835, Nancy Jane gave birth to eleven children, all of whom survived the perils of childhood.

Around 1814, Shadrack’s father, Reuben, and his uncle, Wright, resettled in Posey County, Indiana. Shadrack, Nancy Jane, and their children followed in 1825. By that time, their oldest son, the evasive Willis, was 28 years old, married to an equally elusive woman named Mary (very original).

My 3x great-grandfather was born in 1816 in North Carolina, but moved here with his parents, Willis and Mary. His name was Andrew, a rather normal-sounding name, but one that I never see used again. Andrew grew up working alongside his twelve aunts and uncles, several of whom were younger than him, on the Family’s Farm. Shadrack owned about 200 acres by the time of his death in 1864.

Due to the aforementioned confusion, I’m going to forego filling in the spaces regarding my 4x greats Willis and Mary. I believe Mary died in 1829 and Willis thirty years later in 1869.

3x great Andrew Stallings married Hannah Anderson in 1840. Hannah was the daughter of Elijah and Ellenor Anderson, early pioneers of Posey County who arrived around 1815. Weirdly, Hannah’s brother, Isaac Anderson, married Andrew’s aunt, Jane Stallings. They weren’t kidding when they told me that Everybody in Posey County is related to a Stallings…

Andrew and Hannah had seven children; my 2x great-grandfather, Elijah Willis Stallings, was their fourth, born in 1848. The family farmed in Harmony Township and from the looks of it did pretty well; the 1870 census ascertains their real estate to be worth $5000, more than their surrounding neighbors.

3x great Hannah Anderson Stallings died in 1870. The following year, 2x great Elijah married Rhoda Axton, and together they had four children that survived to adulthood: Frederick, b.1879; Edward, (my 2x great-grandfather) b. 1881; Lula Belle, b. 1885; and Frank, b. 1891.

3x great Andrew Stallings died in 1895, dividing his farm and assets among his surviving children, and remembering his grandchildren with gifts of horses.

2x great-grandmother Rhoda died in 1899 and Elijah wasted no time remarrying. In 1900 he married a women 23 years his junior, Effie Lillian Scott, and started fresh at age 51, moving to Hawthorne Township, White County, Illinois, where he bought a farm. He and Effie, often called Lillie, had one son together, John, b. 1904.

My great-grandfather, Edward Armstead Stallings, was 17 when his mother, Rhoda, died and he moved with his father and siblings to White County to work on the farm.

Living nearby was the family of David and Sarah Haddon Barton and their six children. Their oldest daughter was Rhoda Jane, my great-grandmother.

So it was that the Stallings Family and the Barton family, both having pioneered Posey County, relocated just across the Wabash River to Carmi, White County, Illinois, bringing together two important carriers of my DNA…

Carmi, Illinois Courthouse, built 1885

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