Monday, January 16, 2012

Mystery Solved - Maybe, Probably, Yes!

A longstanding mystery has been solved by a very distant but dear cousin of ours, Barbara Rogers, an Arkansas native and cousin on the Smith side of our family. She has pulled together from various sources enough information to finally identify our own Elender Jane Keeling Buckhanan, born about 1837-1838 in Roane County, TN, to William Weldon Keeling and his wife Elizabeth Hyden Keeling. Elender married John Littleton Trout Buckhanan on April 3, 1856 in Madison County, AR and became the mother of five children including our Sarah Frances Buckhanan Smith before she (Elender) died while still a young woman sometime between 1866 and 1870.

Because she was listed on the 1860 federal census for Madison County, AR as E. J. Buckhanan and then never appeared on the 1870 federal census we've had a lot of trouble identifying her. Fortunately, there were Keeling family members living with E. J. and John L. T. Buckhanan in 1860 so we had a clue about her maiden name but the only E. J. we knew of was E. J. Perry who married Weldon Keeling in 1853 - close but no match.

The final pieces of the puzzle were in our own family records but it took our cousin Barbara Rogers working closely with Mary Simms to piece it all together and finally give our E. J. a full name and a family we can research. We still have not found her burial place or date, nor do we have a photograph of Elender, but with any luck (and the discovery of a missing family bible) we may learn more about the life and death of Elender.

We have many people to thank for the bits and pieces of the Keeling family and Buckhanan family histories which have led to the identification of our gr-gr-grandmother Elender Jane. For a more detailed accounting of this search and discovery please read Barbara's post on Genforum at And please, if you know anything more about this branch of our family send me an email.