John Harvey and Martha (Chaffin) Birdwell
October 6, 1841 in Jackson County, Tennessee
Aletha Billingsley in 1865 in Jackson County, Tennessee
Adalissa Wheeler on March 8, 1875 in Jackson County, Tennessee
March 19, 1898 in Jackson County, Tennessee
Buried in John L. Billingsley Cemetery – Shady Grove, Jackson, Tennessee
Co. E. 28th Tennessee Infantry CSA
Civil War National Archive Records:
Prisoner at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio
It is widely noted that Benjamin Birdwell had a child with his first wife, Aletha Billingsley. Most people note this child as being JOAB BIRDWELL. I have never located any information stating this to be fact. I have however located, on the 1870 Census, a MARY A. BIRDWELL (age 2) listed as a daughter of Benjamin and Aletha Birdwell.
It is possible that Benjamin and Aletha had more than one child, yes? Vital records were not kept in the state of Tennessee until 1914, so there would be no record of a birth of either child.
Here are the facts, I know to be true:
- There is no record of Aletha’s death; not even a grave marker to locate.
- On the 1880 census, a MARY GWIN listed as adopted was living with Thomas and Luisa Billingsley (Parents of Aletha Billingsley) along with a Joseph Birdwell, who was listed as a grandson.
- On the 1880 census of Benjamin Birdwell he had already married, for a second time to Adalissa Wheeler and started a family with her. But you will find a son named Joseph living with Benjmain and Adalissa.
Aletha (Billingsley) Birdwell died shortly after giving birth to her child. Having no choice; Benjamin, now being a single father, gave custody of his children to his in-laws to care for.
Somewhere there is a mix up.