Nancy Jane Meeker Stanley Hodson, 1840-1885

Thursday, March 5, 2015

This little lady has an awful lot of people seriously stumped. Here is a query I posted in the “Brickwalls” section of the site, Illinois Ancestors Presents Fulton County. I have added footnotes [just follow these kinds of brackets] which were not included in the original post, plus I've added some links for records I've found supporting the statements in my original post.

I’m trying to find the parents of Nancy Jane Meeker. She was born April 10, 1840, in Fulton County, Illinois[1]. She died of the “hasty consumption” on May 31, 1885, at the age of 45[2]. She was married first to Charles H. Stanley on April 29, 1857[3]. They had two children, Tarabelle (or Sarabelle) and Charles, but their daughter must have died around the age of 2 or 3 [4]. Nancy and Charles divorced a few years later (in 1863)[5], and Charles took their son and told everyone that Nancy had died in 1861[6]. He later married a young woman named Dorinda Bybee[7].

Nancy then married James E. Hodson[8] on June 13, 1864, in Knox County, Illinois, although they continued to live in Fulton County. They had several children together. Her obit said she left behind her husband, James, and 10 children. She is buried in Orendorff Cemetery in Orion, Illinois. Her cemetery record states her date of death as May 31, 1885, and “fa Dan Meeker”[9].

In the 1850 census, she is living with the Jerod Wheadon family in Waterford. In the same census, there is a girl named Abigail Meeker living with the Thomas Bybee family in Buckhart (note that after Nancy, Charles married a Dorinda Bybee).

In the 1860 census[10], Nancy has apparently left Charles, and is living with David and Abigail (Meeker) Wilcoxen. Thomas Bybee’s wife was a Wilcoxen.

In the 1870 census[11] and [12], Nancy is married and living with James Hodson. Abigail is also still in Fulton County, with her husband David Wilcoxen. An Aaron Meeker is also living with Abigail and David.

In the 1880[13] and [14] census, Abigail and Nancy are each still living with their families in Fulton County. Aaron Meeker is now living with Nancy and James.

In the 1880 census, Abigail shows she was born in Illinois, and her parents were from Kentucky. Nancy shows she was born in Illinois, and her parents were from Ohio. Aaron also shows he was born in Illinois, and his parents were from Ohio.

I have been unable to find the parents of either Nancy or Aaron (although I think Aaron is the same as the 3-year-old Aaron living with Moses Meeker in the 1850 census — if so, then he may be Moses’ son and was just very close to Nancy and Abigail). I believe Abigail’s parents were Stephen and Ruth (Thompson) Meeker, both from Kentucky, who apparently died in the 1840’s of food poisoning. A James Meeker is living with Moses Meeker in the 1850 census, and he may be Abigail’s brother. I’m wondering whether Stephen Meeker had a brother named Dan(iel), if so, then this Dan may be Nancy’s father, and I would also need to find Stephen and Dan’s parents in order to tie them into the Meeker lines. I have checked into a couple of Daniel Meekers in the area, including the one in Madison County, but have pretty much ruled them out. I’m thinking the Dan I’m searching for may not have appeared in any census in Illinois.

Anyone have any clues, or an idea of where I could search further? Any help would be appreciated!


[1] This information was given to us by Nancy and James’ granddaughter, Bertha May Hodson Anderson (daughter of James William Hodson and Laura Alice White). The obit also shows she was born in 1840; however, the cemetery records show her year of birth as 1844.

[2] Obituaries of Fulton County, Fulton County Ledger, June 4, 1885 (transcription).

[3] Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900.

[4] No death record has been found, but as she never appeared again in another census with either Nancy or Charles, it is assumed little Sarabelle (Tarabelle) died. She was also not mentioned in the biographical found on Charles Stanley.

[5] Fulton County Circuit Court Case Files Index, 1825-1876
Searches run for Stanley, Meeker, Hodson, as defendant or plaintiff on 02/25/09





The divorce was actually finalized in February 1863.

[6] Apparently, as this information was published in two biographicals on Charles Stanley many years later: First, in the Portrait & Biographical Album of Fulton County, 1890, pages 792-793; and, second, in the Historical Encyclopedia and History of Fulton County, pages 1123-1124.

[7] Jordan Dodd and Liahona Research, comp.. Illinois Marriages, 1851-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Index compiled from county marriage records on microfilm located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah by Jordan Dodd of Liahona Research (P.O. Box 740, Orem, Utah 84059). Specific source information is listed with each entry.

[8] Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900

[9] Orendorff Cem. from Cemetery inscriptions of Fulton County, Il. Vol 5 page 22:

HODSON, James, b. Ky. jan. 25, 1840; d. Jan 31, 1914; 74y 8d; wf, Irene Hodson, (wnd wf)-Fa Joshua Hodson, b. Ky. Mo Mary Meffered, b. Ky (dc)

HODSON, Nancy, d. May 31, 1885; 41y; w/o James Hodson; Fa Dan Meeker

[10] Year: 1860; Census Place: Liverpool, Fulton, Illinois; Roll: M653_179; Page: 72; Image: 72; Family History Library Film: 803179.

[11] Year: 1870; Census Place: Liverpool, Fulton, Illinois; Roll: M593_223; Page: 171A; Image: 350; Family History Library Film: 545722.

[12] Year: 1870; Census Place: Liverpool, Fulton, Illinois; Roll: M593_223; Page: 177A; Image: 362; Family History Library Film: 545722.

[13] Year: 1880; Census Place: Breeds Station, Fulton, Illinois; Roll: 208; Family History Film: 1254208; Page: 330A; Enumeration District: 52; Image: 0180.

[14] Year: 1880; Census Place: Liverpool, Fulton, Illinois; Roll: 208; Family History Film: 1254208; Page: 310A; Enumeration District: 51; Image: 0140.