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The Parents of Lewis Suddarth – The Search Begins

Posted by dwsuddarth on 26 September 2009

In trying to find the parents of Lewis Suddarth, I quickly realized that I would need to expand my research.  Up to this point, the records have been fairly easy to locate and have, with a few exceptions, provided direct evidence as to parentage, birth dates and locations, etc.   The records that I have been able to find for Lewis, however, do not provide that information as neatly and exactly.

Lewis is found in three census records; the 1860 Crawford County, Indiana census where he is enumerated as the head of household, 47 years of age, born in Kentucky; the 1850 Crawford County, Indiana census, enumerated as head of household, 38 years of age, born in Kentucky; and the 1840 Crawford County, Indiana census, enumerated as the only male in the household, between 20 and 30 years of age.  All three of these census records indicate that he was born around 1812-1813 in Kentucky.  Lewis would have been about 18 years of age in 1830. I have not found him enumerated in the 1830 census, however.  Therefore, it is likely that he was living with a relative at this time.  Lewis had died before 1870.

I began trying to find out his date of death.  Research into further records turned up a land record dated 21-November-1868, where Lewis’s wife Lydia bought land from their eldest son James.  This, combined with the 1870 census record, would seem to indicate that Lewis had died by this date.  The 1870 census record lists the youngest child in the household, Andrew, as being 2 years of age.  The 1900 Crawford County, Indiana census reveals that Andrew was born in September, 1868.  Since relationships are not indicated on the 1870 census, checking the 1880 census reveals that Andrew is, in fact, Lydia’s son.  Although that does not mean that Lewis is the father, that is most likely the situation.  Further research needs to be conducted in order to either locate a record stating this or to further build a case.  If Lewis is, in fact, Andrew’s father, we can narrow the date of Lewis’s death to between December, 1867 (9 months prior to Andrew’s birth) and November, 1868 (the sale of land to Lydia by their son James).  The actual date is probably closer to November, 1868, as the land was most likely sold shortly after Lewis’ death.  So far, research in area newspapers has not turned up anything regarding his death.

Lewis left a few other land records and a record of his marriage to Lydia Stroud on 26 August 1839. Lydia was born about 1823 in Indiana.  At the time of their marriage, she was around 16 years of age and Lewis was around 27 years of age.  They were married in Orange County, Indiana, which is just north of Crawford County.  This marriage record is the earliest record I have found for Lewis.

Since the earliest census record I could find for Lewis was the 1840 census (enumerated as ‘Lewis Suddard’), I looked to see if there were other Suddarths in the area in 1840. Also enumerated in 1840 in Crawford County was John Suddarth (enumerated as ‘John Suddard’), 30-40 years of age; Benjamin Suddarth (enumerated as ‘Benj Suddearth), 30-40 years of age; and James Suddarth (enumerated as ‘James Suddearth’), 40-50 years of age. James immediately jumped out as a possibility for Lewis’ father.  In researching James, I discovered that he was born 1795 in Virginia.  His wife, Malinda, was born 1797.  Lewis was born around 1812-13.  If James is Lewis’  father, he would have only been 17 or 18 at the time Lewis was born.  Malinda, James’s wife, would have only been 15 or 16 at the time.  Although this is possible, I believe it is very unlikely.  Furthermore, the John Suddarth found in the 1840 census is most likely a brother to Lewis.  According to his gravestone, John was born 6-August-1811.  Census records indicate that John was born in Kentucky, just as Lewis.  In addition, they are enumerated only 3 households apart on the 1840 census.  If, in fact, John is Lewis’s brother, and a son of James and Malinda, James would have been 16 and Malinda 14 at the time of John’s birth.  This, also, is highly unlikely.  Therefore, I do not believe that James and Malinda can be either John’s or Lewis’ parents.  Further research into James and Malinda’s family has shown that they are not the parents of John or Lewis.

In order to find Lewis’ parents, I have been researching the other Suddarths found in the census, as records for Lewis have not been found.  Hopefully, research of James, John, or Benjamin will help point me to Lewis’ parents.


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