We recently spent time looking into the final whereabouts of Sarah H. Thackston, daughter of Nathaniel Thackston of Prince Edward County, Virginia. We can’t prove our hypothesis, so I thought I would put it out there in the hopes of catching some researcher’s Google attention:
We know from Nathaniel Thackston’s will that he had a daughter Sarah H. Thackston. She married Hardin Foster on 28 Dec 1818 in Prince Edward County, Virginia.
When Nathaniel drafted his will in 1841, he identified this daughter as Sarah H. Strickland. In an 1859 chancery lawsuit involving the descendants of her grandfather Richard Foster, Sarah is said to be living in Georgia. (In one place, her spouse is listed as unknown, in another someone has written Hardin Foster. But we know from Nathaniel Thackston’s will that Sarah had married a Strickland years earlier.)
This is what we believe happened:
Sarah Thackston and Hardin Foster moved to Georgia. Other Prince Edward County Fosters had moved to Georgia before then. (We haven’t delved into Hardin Foster’s parentage; a John Hardin Foster from Wilkes County, Georgia, had a son Hardin, but some family researchers identify him as Francis Hardin Foster.)
Hardin Foster died, and Sarah Foster married Richard H. Branch on 09 Aug 1824 in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia. Richard H. Branch presumably died, and Sarah H. Branch married Kinchen Strickland 30 Mar 1836 in Madison County, Georgia.
In 1841, Nathaniel Thackston refers to her as Sarah H. Strickland. He leaves her $100 in his will (no land that she would later have to sell, unfortunately).
In the 29 Aug 1850 census of Madison County, Georgia, Sarah H. Strickland is with Kinchen Strickland. She is listed as 47 years old, born in Virginia.
On 15 Aug 1854, the initial draft of Kinchen Strickland’s will leaves 100 acres, slaves, and other property to his wife Sarah H. Strickland. Some of the property is to revert to his estate if she ever moves out of Madison or Clarke counties. He mentions “the trunks and bed clothing she brought to my house after our marriage.”
In the 21 Jul 1860 census of Madison County, Georgia, Sarah H. Strickland is again with Kinchen Strickland. She is listed as 75 years old, born in Virginia. [Someone was wildly guessing in 1850, 1860, or both.]
In an 09 May 1861 codicil, Kinchen Strickland unfortunately changed his will to bequeath the land and property to his son Kinchen to be held for the benefit of his wife Sarah H. Strickland (hence no probate for Sarah when she died).
This Sarah Strickland is the only one in the 1850 and 1860 Georgia census who could possibly be a daughter of Nathaniel Thackston. She is the right age, and born in Virginia. The fact that this Sarah brought trunks and bedding into her marriage with Kinchen Strickland (plus her age) suggests that she had been married before.
We cannot find Hardin Foster in Georgia, and can’t find anything on Richard H. Branch. (There is another Richard H. Branch in Chesterfield Co., Virginia, but we have eliminated him.) The timing of the three marriages works (Foster-to-Branch-to-Strickland), and we can’t find a Foster-to-Strickland marriage. Also, Clarke County (where Sarah Foster married Richard H. Branch) was considered close to Madison County (where Sarah Branch married Kinchen Strickland), as evidenced by the provision in Kinchen Strickland’s will if Sarah moved out of Clarke or Madison counties.
If anyone has more information on Hardin Foster, Richard H. Branch, or any of this, we would appreciate hearing from you.