Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Conner Family Mystery

What happened to William and Daniel Conner?

James Smith Conner 1816 (GA)-1896 (FL) and Mary Vanzant 1832 (GA)-1919 (FL), my great grandparents, were living in Nassau County, Florida, when they decided to move farther south.

1870 census Nassau County Florida
Conner, James S 54, wife Mary 38
 children: Martha 16, James M 14, William W. 11 Daniel 9, Desolate E 6, Cornelius 3

From Nassau County, Florida to Orange County Florida, they staked out land in what was to become Lake County, Florida. All the children were present only leaving as they married. All except William and Daniel, the middle sons.

1880 US census Orange, FL, Precinct 1
Conner, James S 64, wife Mary 48
Children James M 23, William W 21, Daniel J 16, Cornelius 13, Nancy J 10

There is an 1885 Florida census however, the Conner’s appear to have missed being counted. The land patent for James S Conner has a date of February 12, 1885. 

1885 Land Patent
Property records show the family living in the area in the late 1890’s James S Conner died in 1896 and his property was split between his wife and children. The children listed as receiving property are Martha, James, Desolate, Cornelius, Nancy and Wesley. (No William or Daniel listed)

The 1900 census below shows that Mary only had 6 children living in 1900. Mary reports 10 children however, I can only find 8 in any records. The 2 unknown children could have died as infants or at a very young age.

1900 US Census, Lake, Tavares, FL, District 0074
Conner, Mary 67 widow
10 children born 6 children living as reported on census

1910 US Census, Lake, Precinct 19 District 0076
Conners, Mary 77 widow
10 children born, 5 living.
(Martha Conner Gordy died in 1902)

The Conner’s are buried in Glendale cemetery in Umatilla, 

James was buried in 1896 and Mary in 1919. 

Next to their graves are two ground level marble slabs without any headstones. No one seems to know who is buried there. 

I believe the best guess would be that these are the graves of William and Daniel. I believe they died sometime between 1880 and 1897. I haven’t been able to find any kind of documentation of their deaths. Was there an accident? Illness? Why no headstones?  What is the story behind this?
The search continues…………

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