Originally posted March 3, 2013 as “A Little Winnie Confusion”

What happened to Winifred “Winnie” Ann Little nee Barton (b. 1827) after her husband James M. Little died in 1866?

James M. Little and his first wife, Nancy Gray Mobley, are buried in Camp Beauregard Cemetery in Graves County, Kentucky. In that cemetery is Winnie A. Bennett whose headstone indicates that she was the wife of F. A. G. Bennett and a note on findagrave indicates she was the widow of Joshua C. Roach who is also buried in that cemetery.

The question is did Winifred Ann Little nee Barton marry Joshua C. Roach? Researchers are sharing information that is conflicting on this. Research Group A indicates the answer is yes and that she is the mother of Joshua’s last two children. Research Group B indicates no, there is different Winnie A. Little who he married and she is the mother of the last two children. So, which is correct?

I have not found marriage records for

  • James M. Little and Nancy G. Mobley
  • James M. Little and Winifred Barton
  • Joshua C. Roach and Winnie A. Little
  • F.A.G. Bennett and Winnie A. Roach

Therefore, the information available right now are the census, newspapers, cemetery and family traditions that get recorded on documents such as letters, birth and death certificates.

The 1850 District 1, Graves Co., Kentucky census seems to have Joshua and Cynthia listed twice.

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Living near J. C. and Cynthia (dwelling 81) is Isaac and Rachel Little (dwelling 89) who are James M. Little’s parents in other words Winnie’s Little nee Barton’s in-laws.  Then living next door to J. C. and C. E. (dwelling 1168) are James M. Little and his wife Winnie (dwelling 1167) and family.

In 1860 in Mayfield, Graves, Kentucky census J. C. and his wife Cynthia are still living near James M. and Winnie Little.

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In 1870 census Joshua’s wife is listed as Winnie A. living with the same children as were listed in 1860 with Cynthia but with two additions born about 1862 and 1865.

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The inference I draw from this is that Joshua’s wife, Cynthia, either died or moved away. During this time period her death seems more likely though I have not been able to locate a death notice or burial record.

According to James M. Little’s headstone he died on September 6, 1866 and is buried in Camp Beauregard Cemetery. If James’ wife, Winnie Little nee Barton married Joshua C. Roach it would likely have taken place after his 1866 death, which is after the birth of Joshua’s last two children (ca 1862 & 1865).

Now, to complicate this situation. Joshua’s son, George Collins Roach’s death certificate indicates his mother was C. A. Little and the informant was George’s older brother, John Neal Roach.

The Kentucky Birth Records, 1852-1910 for Graves County shows:

  • May 13, 1853 J. H. Roach (James H.) lists his father as J. C. Roach and his mother as M. E. Farr.
  • Feb 25, 1859 J. N. Roach (John N.) lists his father as J. C. Roach and his mother as M. E. Green.

I have so far been unable to locate other records for Joshua’s children. I did find another M. E. Farr who had children about the same time period, same county with N. Parker and in the census the young couple, N. Parker and his wife Mary, had 12 year old Samuel Little living with them.

Next I wondered if the birth state of the mother could help clarify any of this. Both the 1850 & 1860 census indicate that Cynthia was born in Tennessee.  Winnie Ann Little nee Baton was born in Kentucky.

By 1880 the census records started asking what state the person’s mother and father were born in and from that we learn:

  • 1880 Thomas J. Roach indicated his father was born in Kentucky, his mother in Tennessee.
  • 1880 John N. Roach indicated that his father was born in Kentucky, his mother in Tennessee.
  • 1880 George Roach indicated that his father and mother were born in Kentucky.
  • 1880 Bettie, who was living with her brother Thomas, indicated that her father and mother were born in Kentucky.
  • I haven’t yet found James in these later censuses.

From all of this it seems that all of Joshua’s children think their father was born in Kentucky. The older children believe their mother was born in Tennessee and the two youngest children think their mother was born in Kentucky leading me to infer that the two youngest children have a different mother or, perhaps since they were so young at the time, they thought of their step-mother as their mother.

To further complicate matters Research Group B suggests a different set of information.

Joshua C. Roach’s parents were James C. Roach and Elizabeth Little of Tennessee. Elizabeth Roach nee Little was the daughter of Abraham Little, III and Amy Llewellyn. Her father, Abraham, had other children with an unknown woman, one of those was son John. That John, Elizabeth’s half-brother, married Hannah and they had a son, Neal Little. Neal and his wife Elizabeth Jane Cayce had a daughter Winnie A. Little (1829-1870).

Research Group B places this daughter as the person who married Joshua C. Roach. Some researchers show her birth state as Tennessee others Kentucky. The siblings before and after her birth are listed as being born in Tennessee. The family was on the 1820 & 1830 Censuses as living in Tennessee but their father, Neal, died in 1835 in Hickman County, Kentucky. I have not been able to locate any censuses or marriage records with her identified (perhaps she was one of the hash marks of females).

It’s logical to find Joshua’s mother’s family living near him and later his children living with them so that doesn’t help solve much. However, sometimes the relationship noted is interesting such as with one of Joshua’s sons.

1880 in Dukeom, Graves, Kentucky census John N. Roach was living next door to his brother, Thomas, with Joseph F. Little who indicated that John was his nephew. Joseph Fleming Little was the son of Neal and Elizabeth Cayce and his sister was Winnie A. Little (Research Group B’s Winnie). In that same household with Joseph F. Little was Sallie McMorris, listed as Joseph’s niece who must be his sister Hannah’s daughter since Hannah married Isaac McMorris.

Joseph’s first wife was Rachel S. Little and it is uncertain whether Little was her maiden name. If it was then John N. Roach may be Joseph’s nephew through his first wife or possibly his second wife’s rather than his own line.

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So, did Joshua marry someone else before Winnie?  Which Winnie did he marry?

I’m going to move forward with the inference that my Winnie A. Little nee Barton is not the mother of Joshua’s children and I will remain uncertain on whether or not she married Joshua, for now.

Are you a Little confused? Perhaps you can help clear this up.


Winnie Little nee Barton is my biological 3rd grandmother on my father’s side.

No Story Too Small offered a challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor. 
Each of my posts for this challenge will include in the title “52 Ancestors Challenge” and will have the tag of 52Ancestors.