Based largely on the Jesse B. Slone letter and Samuel B Slone’s statement, there appears to be a John Slone who married Nancy Isbell and produced sons named John, William, and Jesse.
He was evidently the same “John Sloan” who appears in the 1830 census of Jackson County, Alabama, aged 50-60. 1 He was enumerated adjacent to an elderly widow named Polly Isbell and her presumed sons Ezekiel Isbell and Zachariah Isbell, heading a household suggesting three sons and two daughters.2 From his age range in 1830 and 1840, we can presume his birth sometime in the 1790s. And, according to his sons’ later census records, he was born in Virginia.3
The 1840 census of Jackson County enumerated John Slone heading a household of seven. 4 Two young males from the 1830 household and one young female had left the household, and three more children had been added.
By the 1850 census the family had disappeared. A small number of families located around the intersection of Marshall, Jackson, and DeKalb counties were accidentally ignored by the census marshals in 1850, and it could be that the Slone family was one of them. However, Jesse Slone’s letter suggests the alternate possibility that John and/or Nancy died and the children remaining in the household were living elsewhere. Jesse Slone’s letter speaks of “being raised up together” with Sarah Louisa Slone which must have referred to a period prior to the mid-1850s.
The following is merely a hypothesis, but one that plausibly explains such facts as we have:
John Sloan II (c1815 – c1843) Sarah Louisa Slone’s death certificate lists her father as John Slone and her mother as [blank] Isbell (Mary from other records), and Jesse Slone’s letter addresses her as “niece”. If we interpret that literally, her father must have been Jesse Slone’s brother. Since Sarah was born in 1840, her father must have been one of the males aged 10-15 in John Slone’s 1830 household.
We have a number of letters from Sarah’s husband Daniel Bynum written to her during the Civil War, as well as their family Bible which mentions only Jesse Slone among her relatives, and the recollections of descendants. None of these so much as hint at the existence of any siblings to Sarah. Thus we think she was the only child of her parents. Since John Slone Jr. was not enumerated in the 1840 Alabama census, it is plausible to think that he was already dead by then. I note that the 1840 household of his father John Slone Sr. included a female aged 15-20 — he had no females aged 5-10 in the 1830 household, so that woman could well have been John Slone Jr.’s pregnant widow Mary. (She could have easily lived with her own parents, but Jesse Slone’s letter suggests the possibility that he and Sarah lived in the same household as children.)
William Slone (c1817 – 1886) He was evidently the other male aged 10-15 in John Slone’s 1830 household. There was no male his age in the 1840 household, by which time he was already married with at least one child. In 1850 he was age 33, heading a household that included six children, and located adjacent to Levi Isbell and James Isbell and just eleven households away from Sarah Louisa Slone’s future husband Daniel W. Bynum. The census marshal helpfully identified the township and range (T6S-R6E), which was mostly in Marshall County with the lower portion in DeKalb County. which by 1860 was partly in Jackson County and partly in DeKalb County. (The county line was redrawn in 1858.) The township-range directly to the west (T6S-R5E) included parts of all three counties. His age was recorded as 33 in 1850, 43 in 1860, and 62 in 1880 with a birthplace of Tennessee. He is only four households away from Jesse Slone in 1860, but I didn’t find him in 1870 when about one-third of the population was inexplicably uncounted.5
His first wife, named Mary, is unknown. The 1850 census suggests that he had six daughters by that marriage named Martha Slone (c1838-by 1868?) who married Levi Frazier, Elizabeth Slone (c1840-?) who may have married Levi Frazier in 1868, Nancy Amanda Slone (c1842-?) who married Louis J. Tiner, Ann Slone (c1844-?), Margaret Slone (c1846-?), and Sarah Malinda Slone (c1849-?) who married William C. McNaron. His first wife must have died not long after the 1850 census, as on 14 December 1852 he married a widow named Delilah Matheny Briggs who had two children of her own. (She was the daughter of William Matheny and Matilda Murphy, enumerated in their household in 1850 with two daughters named Martha and Matilda Briggs. She had married John Briggs in 1843 and was evidently widowed by 1850.) By her he had children named James T. Slone (1857-1928), Samuel C. Slone (1859-1924), Naomi Green Slone (1864-1927) who married Benjamin G. Luttrell, Addie Slone (c1868-?), Ellen Slone (1869-?), Clayton Slone (1870-?), Miles Slone (1872-?), and Jesse F. Slone (1874-?). He left a will in 1886 naming children Martha J. Russell, Sarah McNaron, Elizabeth Williams, and Mary A. Tinor.
- [unknown son] The 1830 and 1840 censuses suggest a son born in the 1825-1830 period. There is no later record of him. Nor are there any obvious candidates in local records.
Jesse Slone (27 November 1833 – 13 May 1904). Jesse appears in censuses beginning in 1860, consistently giving his birthplace as Alabama. Jesse’s son, Samuel Byron Slone, left a record stating that his parents were Jesse Slone and Nancy Rapier, his grandparents were John Slone and Nancy Isbell, and his uncle was William Slone.6 Jesse married Nancy Ellen Rapier (her middle name according to death certificates of her children) on 19 October 1854 and had children named William J. Slone (1855-1931), Martha Jane Slone (1857-1929) who married Thomas S. Stewart, Mary Ellen Slone (1860-1945) who married William Esme Pope, Sarah P. Slone (1862-1956) who married William C. Morgan, Jesse B. Slone (1865-1945), David Arthur Slone (1866-1944), James F. Slone (c1869 – ), and Samuel Byron Slone (1872-1950).
Jesse Slone’s eldest son may have been named William John Slone. Among the marriage records of Marshall County (where he lived at the time) is a note dated 21 September 1873 from Jesse Slone to the county clerk notifying “you not to issue marage (sic) licens (sic) to my son John. He is under age.”
The 1830 census suggests that John Slone also had two daughters born sometime in the 1810-15 time period. Jesse Slone’s letter mentions his brother William but gives no hint of any sisters, from which we infer that they had either died young or lived elsewhere.
- There were two other John Slones nearby in adjacent counties, one in Marshall County and one in Lincoln County, Tennessee. However, only the one in Jackson County headed a household that matches what we know of his family. [↩]
- 1830 Jackson County census, page 117: John Sloan 1020001 – 00201. [↩]
- William Slone in 1880 and Jesse Slone in 1900 indicated that their father was born in Virginia and their mother was born in Tennessee. Jesse Slone’s 1880 census gave his father’s birthplace as Alabama, which is clearly in error as Alabama didn’t exist in any practical sense at the time. [↩]
- 1840 Jackson County census, page 37: John Slone 11100001 – 0101001. [↩]
- The 1850 census counted 10,705 residents of DeKalb County. Only 7,126 were counted in 1860, a decline of 33%. The 1880 census showed 12, 675 residents. [↩]
- This record was reported to me by Rebecca Earnest, a great-granddaughter of Jesse Slone. An abstract of this record which incorrectly reports his mother’s name was was published in two brief biographical records of Samuel B. Slone. [↩]