William Hart Free’s Second Wife Mary
Copyright Aug 2011 LaRae Free Kerr M ED
Starting Point: Two original and very old family group records I received from Abbie Wells defined William Hart Free’s [1815-aft 1880] families.
Family Group Record 1 provided names only of his first wife, Eliza Baker, and the first names of their children: Leroy, Nancy [Sumner], Absalom, Madison, Altazera [Hughes], William and Emma [Brown]. I have census, marriage and some other information on each of these children but would like more.
Census records show Eliza Baker Free with her family in 1850 in Washington Co IL born abt 1816 of St Clair County, IL. Her parents are unknown except that she is NOT the daughter of Abraham Baker. She died about 1853. Would like her death and burial information.
Family Group Record 2 gave his second wife’s first name as Mary with a notation that her first husband was surnamed Reddenhouse.
A search for the marriage of William Hart Free, known as Buck, to a woman named Mary after 1853 led to a St Louis, St Louis, Missouri marriage record between William Free and “Miss Mary T. Rittinghous” on 2 Mar 1856. I have a photocopy of this entry in 1104l. Even though the St Louis marriage record pronounced Mary a “Miss,” the old family group record indicated Reddenhouse was the surname of Mary’s first husband. [Remember spelling is inconsequential; it’s the sound of the name that counts in genealogy.]
St Clair County, IL marriage records revealed a marriage entry for a B F Rittinghouse to a Mary T Jackson on 18 May 1830. The 1850 census East of Okaw, St Clair, IL showed a Benjamin Rittinghaus tavern keeper 40 St Clair; Mary 35 Ky; James 18 St Clair; William 17 St Clair; George 13 St Clair; Elizabeth 9 St Clair; Josephine 5 St Clair; John Philling 21 laborer Germany
Could this Mary Rittinghous be the one who married William Hart Free just six years later? Three court records seemed to indicate she was.
1. 1856 Aug Mary and William Free are defendants in a suit with James L Rittenhouse. Is James L Rittenhouse a relative of hers? Almost certainly. He may be her son James.
2. 1856, Aug. St Clair Co Chancery Court Records 338 p 293 Bk D pp 293, 357, 413, 439 & Bk E pp 52, 93. 301l *James L Rittenhouse vs Elizabeth Guinelle (Quinelle) and John B Quinelle her husband, Wm L Rettinghouse, Adeline Rittinghouse & Mary Free and William Free. Bill for Partition & Dower. There are miner defendants. Mary ___ md ____ Rittinghouse then md Wm Free. She and Rittinghouse had 4 named children (?): (I don't know who John Rettinghouse is) 1. James L Rittenhouse of age 18 in Aug 1856? 2. Elizabeth md John B Quinelle by Aug 1856 3. William L and 4. Adeline R prob minor in Aug 1856 301l
3. 1858 Apr John Rittenhouse plaintiff against Wm H Free debt.
The 1860 census showed that the Mary who was the mother of Adeline was indeed the wife of William H Free. Since both William and Adeline Rittinghouse are in the 1860 census as Free children with William, these must indeed be her children. Mary gets dower.326l Some of the land is in McDonough Co. John Rittinghouse is assigned to auction the land, could he be her husband's brother?
So William Hart Free and wives were clarified.
It would be interesting and useful to know who Mary T[?] Jackson’s parents were and who Benjamin Franklin Rittinghouse’s parents were. Does anyone have that information?
History of St Clair County, Illinois. Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough & Co. 1881. Reproduction by Unigraphic, Inc. Evansville, IN 1975.
St Clair County Genealogical Society. History of St Clair County, Illinois. St Clair County, IL: Curtis Media Corp. 1988.