Brinkley Family History

William Henry Whidden

William Henry WhiddenAge: 45 years18671912

Name
William Henry Whidden
Given names
William Henry
Surname
Whidden
Text:

Ella Mae remembers her father talking about his grandmother being a Driggers.

Note: I have still not been able to confirm James and Josephine as the parents of William H. Whidden. William appears to be living with James and Josephine in Locklear, Florida for the 1880 US Census.
Birth February 1867 24 21
MarriageFrancis View this family

Birth of a daughter
#1
(Infant Daughter) Whidden

Birth of a brotherCornelius Washingon Whidden
August 1871 (Age 4 years)
Birth of a brotherRobert J. Whidden
February 1878 (Age 11 years)
Census July 6, 1880 (Age 13 years) Age: 14
Birth of a sisterLucy Whidden
February 1882 (Age 15 years)
MarriageMary Josephine “Josephine” WhiddenView this family
July 7, 1890 (Age 23 years)
Citation details: Book 1, page 54
Text:

The record shows William H. Whidden married Mary J. Crawford July 7, 1890.

Birth of a son
#2
Theodore Cornelius “Neal” Whidden
June 6, 1892 (Age 25 years)
Text:

The draft registration lists his birthdate as June 6, 1893.

Birth of a daughter
#3
Mary Francis Whidden
October 20, 1894 (Age 27 years)

Birth of a daughter
#4
Gertrude Elizabeth Whidden
July 12, 1896 (Age 29 years)

Birth of a daughter
#5
Pearl Elizabeth Whidden
March 30, 1898 (Age 31 years)
Census July 24, 1900 (Age 33 years)
Birth of a son
#6
James McSwain “Mac” Whidden
February 14, 1904 (Age 37 years)

Death of a wifeMary Josephine “Josephine” Whidden
April 18, 1905 (Age 38 years)

Burial of a wifeMary Josephine “Josephine” Whidden
April 1905 (Age 38 years)
Cemetery: Oak Hill

Event
Photo
after April 1905 (Age 38 years)

Note: This photo appears to have been possibly taken after the death of Mary Josephine in April 1905. McSwain would have been just over 1 year old. The photo shows William Henry Whidden (middle) holding McSwain in his lap. The other children from left to right, I believe are Eliza Gertrude, Mary Frances, Theodore Cornelius, and Pearl Elizabeth.
Death of a fatherJames Whidden
before August 11, 1909 (Age 42 years)

Death of a motherJosephine Driggers
after August 11, 1909 (Age 42 years)

Census April 21, 1910 (Age 43 years)
Event
Photo
about 1910 (Age 42 years)
Text:

Ella Mae let be borrow a copy of this photo to scan. The back says "William Henry Whidden" and shows William wearing a gun and hat. The 1910 census lists his occupation as Night Watchman.

Marriage of a childTheodore Cornelius “Neal” WhiddenMabel BatesView this family
June 23, 1911 (Age 44 years)
Death July 20, 1912Between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM (Age 45 years)
Cause of death: Heart Attack or Unknown Cause while in the water
Text:

Bill, I received confirmation that William H. Whidden died in West Palm Beach on July 20, 1912 probably due to a heart attack. I contacted the Palm Beach Post newspaper and the research reporter helped my by contacting the Palm Beach Historical Society as the Post newspaper did not print news over the summer but only during the "season" which consisted of the winter months. The local paper "Tropical Sun" contained an article that stated that William Whidden collapsed in the surf after rescuing two women and attempting to rescue a young boy who was drowning. The autopsy revealed that there was not much water in William Whidden's lungs so they listed the cause of death as a possible heart attack. The Historical Society will not allow copies of the "Tropical Sun" to be made as they do not have the paper on microfilm and have the original paper that is in poor condition. This information, however, begs the question as to why there is no death certificate for William Whidden. As I told you, I have a letter from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics that states they have no death certificate for William for any month in 1912. I may try them again as the death certificate will confirm (I think) his parent's names and his second wife's name. Do you have any suggestions on finding a death certificate?

Jill (email sent to Bill Brinkley August 22, 2004)

Citation details: The Miami Herald, 07/21/1912, vol. 2, iss. 234, pg. 1, 07/22/1912, pg. 4, & 07/24/1912, pg. 10
Text:

The Miami Herald, 07/21/1912, vol. 2, iss. 234, pg. 1

Two Men Lost LIves While Bathing In the Surg Near West Palm Beach Yesterday


W.H. Widden, 45 Years, And Henry Bladgett, 22 Years, Victims.


THREE OTHERS, TWO OF THEM WOMEN, HAD A CLOSE CALL.


Walked Beyond Their Depth--Allen Rose Rescued Women, But Was Unable to Save the Men-- Bodies Recovered--In- quest to Be Held.


(Special to The Herald) West Palm Beach, July 19.--W.H. Whidden, aged about forty-five years, and Harry Bladgett, aged twenty- two, were drowned this morning near Figulus, about five miles south of this city. They, with Allen W. Rose, Mrs. Ed. Center and sister, Mrs. Annie Blad- gett, mother of the boy drowned, went over to the ocean beach about 8 o'clock, and in bathing. They walked out in the surf and suddenly stepped beyond their depth, and found themselves struggling in the water. Rose managed to save himself and the two women, but was nearly drowned trying to save the boy. He had to let the boy go and save himself. Both bodies were recovered. A coroner's inquest was impaneled, and an adjournment taken to Monday morning.


The Miami Herald, 07/22/1912, page 4

The Miami Herald, 07/22/1912, page 4

DETAILS OF DROWNING AT WEST PALM BEACH


IT IS BELIEVED HEART FAILUE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR DEATH OF W.H. WHIDDEN, THOUGH IT IS EVIDENT HARRY BLODGETT WAS DROWNED--PERSONAL NEWS NOTES.


West Palm Beach, July 20, -- A sensation was caused this morning just before 9 o'clock by word coming to this city that W.H. Whiddin, former night watchman here, had been drowned in teh ocean about five miles below town. Investigation proved that there was some truth in the story and parties went down to see and soon word was sent that two bodies had been found. R.C. Chillingworth, J.P., empannelled a jury and went down to where the bodies were and after viewing them had them sent ot McGinley's undertaking parlors in this city and adjourned the inquest till 2:30 this afternoon. When the jury met again they had Dr. L.A. Peek examine the body and decided to further investigate the matter, so adjourned till Monday morning. The facts as far as could be learned as that W.H. Whidden and his friend, Allen W. Roe, left at 6:30 a.m. on their wheels, going down the county road south of town to Ed Center's dairy, where they were joined by Mrs. Center, her sister, Mrs. Anna Blodgett, and son Harry. Leaving their wheels they crossed the lake in a skiff over to Figulus and went down on the ocean beach and in bathing. As they waded out they suddenly stetpped in water beyond their depth and Harry Blodgett, who could not swim, began calling for help. Mr. Roe helped the ladies to get to shore and tried to help the boy Harry but was nearly drowned in the two attempts he made and had to give it up. He paid no particular attention to Mr. Whidden, knowing that he was a good swimmer, but noticed that he was making no effort to save himself but was drifting face down north towards the inlet. When Mr. Roe tore himself loose from the boy Harry the last time the boy sank from sight. As soon as she was sufficiently recovered Mrs. Center went up to Figulus and called on Mr. A. Nilson, the manager, for help. He had no boat but came down with a rope and this Mr. Roe tied to himself and went out after the body of Mr. Whidden which was still slowly drifting north. He succeeded in reaching it and he and it were hauled to shore by Mr. Nilson and the ladies. The body of the boy was soon after recovered. In the meantime word had been sent to the city and a boat and carrier caskets had been sent down in which, after being viewed by the acting coroner and jury, the bodie were put in and brought to this city. Harry Blodgett was about 22 years old and leaves a widowed mother; W.H. Whidden was about 45 years old and leaves a widow who resides in this city. The boy met his death by drowning without question but, as Mr. Whidden was a fine, strong swimmer and yet made no effort to save himself and his body never sunk, it is thought he died from heart failure or some such trouble and this the inquest may determine. Mrs. D.N. Nourse, who with a firend, attended the funeral of her aunt, Mrs. F. Kinzel, her Thursday, left last night for their homes in Chicago.


The Miami Herald, 07/24/1912, page 10

West Palm Beach, July 22. -- The body of Harry Blodgett, one of teh victims of the drowning Saturday, was burned yesterday morning, and the body of W. H. Whidden, the other victim, was burned yesterday afternoon, from McKinley's undertaking parlors, Rev. F.P Gates officiating. The ocroner's inquest was resumed at 10 a.m. today when the witnesses were examined and Dr. L. A. Peck reported having made an autopsy and exhibited the stomach and viscera of W. H. Whidden. The doctor stated that the boy, Blodgett, had undoubtedly came to his death from drowning, but that the examination showed that Whidden evidently came to his death from some other cause. After a protracted investigation the jury rendered its verdict that Harry Blodgett came to his death from accidental drowning and that W. H. Whidden came to his death in the water but from some cause to the jury unknown, and recommened that the stomach and viscera of Whidden be sent to some chemist for a full examination. Besides his widow here, Whidden left a daughter in this city and a son and two daughters, one of them married, on the west coast.

Note: Thanks to Jill Addison for the newspaper articles detailing the death of William Henry Whidden. The best we will ever get with this can only be personal opinion. It is great that we have such detail with the inquest and news articles. In my opinion either Harry, who couldn't swim, stepped in a deep spot and started to drown. Then William Whidden had some sort of heart failure (only a guess) and died while trying to save him. Or... William Whidden had a heart attack and Harry who could not swim died trying to save him. I would say only Harry or William could answer that question. -- Bill Brinkley 07/18/2010
Burial after July 20, 1912
Family with parents - View this family
father
mother
Marriage: December 28, 1865Polk, Florida, USA
14 months
himself
5 years
younger brother
7 years
younger brother
4 years
younger sister
Family with Mary Josephine “Josephine” Whidden - View this family
himself
wife
Marriage: July 7, 1890DeSoto, Florida, USA
23 months
son
2 years
daughter
21 months
daughter
21 months
daughter
6 years
son
daughter
Family with Francis - View this family
himself
wife
Marriage:

MarriageTombstone, Oak Hill Cemetery, DeSoto County, Florida
MarriageCounty Records, DeSoto Co., Florida Marriages Book 1, (June 28, 1887 - March 24, 1892)
Citation details: Book 1, page 54
Text:

The record shows William H. Whidden married Mary J. Crawford July 7, 1890.

EventPersonal Recollections of Ella Mae Matthews (Whitman) (b. 1931)
Text:

Ella Mae let be borrow a copy of this photo to scan. The back says "William Henry Whidden" and shows William wearing a gun and hat. The 1910 census lists his occupation as Night Watchman.

NameFamily Tree, Whitman Family Bible
NamePersonal Recollections of Ella Mae Matthews (Whitman) (b. 1931)
Text:

Ella Mae remembers her father talking about his grandmother being a Driggers.

DeathResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
Text:

Bill, I received confirmation that William H. Whidden died in West Palm Beach on July 20, 1912 probably due to a heart attack. I contacted the Palm Beach Post newspaper and the research reporter helped my by contacting the Palm Beach Historical Society as the Post newspaper did not print news over the summer but only during the "season" which consisted of the winter months. The local paper "Tropical Sun" contained an article that stated that William Whidden collapsed in the surf after rescuing two women and attempting to rescue a young boy who was drowning. The autopsy revealed that there was not much water in William Whidden's lungs so they listed the cause of death as a possible heart attack. The Historical Society will not allow copies of the "Tropical Sun" to be made as they do not have the paper on microfilm and have the original paper that is in poor condition. This information, however, begs the question as to why there is no death certificate for William Whidden. As I told you, I have a letter from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics that states they have no death certificate for William for any month in 1912. I may try them again as the death certificate will confirm (I think) his parent's names and his second wife's name. Do you have any suggestions on finding a death certificate?

Jill (email sent to Bill Brinkley August 22, 2004)

DeathNewspaper, The Miami Herald
Citation details: The Miami Herald, 07/21/1912, vol. 2, iss. 234, pg. 1, 07/22/1912, pg. 4, & 07/24/1912, pg. 10
Text:

The Miami Herald, 07/21/1912, vol. 2, iss. 234, pg. 1

Two Men Lost LIves While Bathing In the Surg Near West Palm Beach Yesterday


W.H. Widden, 45 Years, And Henry Bladgett, 22 Years, Victims.


THREE OTHERS, TWO OF THEM WOMEN, HAD A CLOSE CALL.


Walked Beyond Their Depth--Allen Rose Rescued Women, But Was Unable to Save the Men-- Bodies Recovered--In- quest to Be Held.


(Special to The Herald) West Palm Beach, July 19.--W.H. Whidden, aged about forty-five years, and Harry Bladgett, aged twenty- two, were drowned this morning near Figulus, about five miles south of this city. They, with Allen W. Rose, Mrs. Ed. Center and sister, Mrs. Annie Blad- gett, mother of the boy drowned, went over to the ocean beach about 8 o'clock, and in bathing. They walked out in the surf and suddenly stepped beyond their depth, and found themselves struggling in the water. Rose managed to save himself and the two women, but was nearly drowned trying to save the boy. He had to let the boy go and save himself. Both bodies were recovered. A coroner's inquest was impaneled, and an adjournment taken to Monday morning.


The Miami Herald, 07/22/1912, page 4

The Miami Herald, 07/22/1912, page 4

DETAILS OF DROWNING AT WEST PALM BEACH


IT IS BELIEVED HEART FAILUE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR DEATH OF W.H. WHIDDEN, THOUGH IT IS EVIDENT HARRY BLODGETT WAS DROWNED--PERSONAL NEWS NOTES.


West Palm Beach, July 20, -- A sensation was caused this morning just before 9 o'clock by word coming to this city that W.H. Whiddin, former night watchman here, had been drowned in teh ocean about five miles below town. Investigation proved that there was some truth in the story and parties went down to see and soon word was sent that two bodies had been found. R.C. Chillingworth, J.P., empannelled a jury and went down to where the bodies were and after viewing them had them sent ot McGinley's undertaking parlors in this city and adjourned the inquest till 2:30 this afternoon. When the jury met again they had Dr. L.A. Peek examine the body and decided to further investigate the matter, so adjourned till Monday morning. The facts as far as could be learned as that W.H. Whidden and his friend, Allen W. Roe, left at 6:30 a.m. on their wheels, going down the county road south of town to Ed Center's dairy, where they were joined by Mrs. Center, her sister, Mrs. Anna Blodgett, and son Harry. Leaving their wheels they crossed the lake in a skiff over to Figulus and went down on the ocean beach and in bathing. As they waded out they suddenly stetpped in water beyond their depth and Harry Blodgett, who could not swim, began calling for help. Mr. Roe helped the ladies to get to shore and tried to help the boy Harry but was nearly drowned in the two attempts he made and had to give it up. He paid no particular attention to Mr. Whidden, knowing that he was a good swimmer, but noticed that he was making no effort to save himself but was drifting face down north towards the inlet. When Mr. Roe tore himself loose from the boy Harry the last time the boy sank from sight. As soon as she was sufficiently recovered Mrs. Center went up to Figulus and called on Mr. A. Nilson, the manager, for help. He had no boat but came down with a rope and this Mr. Roe tied to himself and went out after the body of Mr. Whidden which was still slowly drifting north. He succeeded in reaching it and he and it were hauled to shore by Mr. Nilson and the ladies. The body of the boy was soon after recovered. In the meantime word had been sent to the city and a boat and carrier caskets had been sent down in which, after being viewed by the acting coroner and jury, the bodie were put in and brought to this city. Harry Blodgett was about 22 years old and leaves a widowed mother; W.H. Whidden was about 45 years old and leaves a widow who resides in this city. The boy met his death by drowning without question but, as Mr. Whidden was a fine, strong swimmer and yet made no effort to save himself and his body never sunk, it is thought he died from heart failure or some such trouble and this the inquest may determine. Mrs. D.N. Nourse, who with a firend, attended the funeral of her aunt, Mrs. F. Kinzel, her Thursday, left last night for their homes in Chicago.


The Miami Herald, 07/24/1912, page 10

West Palm Beach, July 22. -- The body of Harry Blodgett, one of teh victims of the drowning Saturday, was burned yesterday morning, and the body of W. H. Whidden, the other victim, was burned yesterday afternoon, from McKinley's undertaking parlors, Rev. F.P Gates officiating. The ocroner's inquest was resumed at 10 a.m. today when the witnesses were examined and Dr. L. A. Peck reported having made an autopsy and exhibited the stomach and viscera of W. H. Whidden. The doctor stated that the boy, Blodgett, had undoubtedly came to his death from drowning, but that the examination showed that Whidden evidently came to his death from some other cause. After a protracted investigation the jury rendered its verdict that Harry Blodgett came to his death from accidental drowning and that W. H. Whidden came to his death in the water but from some cause to the jury unknown, and recommened that the stomach and viscera of Whidden be sent to some chemist for a full examination. Besides his widow here, Whidden left a daughter in this city and a son and two daughters, one of them married, on the west coast.

NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NoteResearch, Jill Thompson Addison
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
NotePersonal Recollections of William Charles Brinkley, Jr. (b. 1974) (I00001)
Event

This photo appears to have been possibly taken after the death of Mary Josephine in April 1905. McSwain would have been just over 1 year old. The photo shows William Henry Whidden (middle) holding McSwain in his lap. The other children from left to right, I believe are Eliza Gertrude, Mary Frances, Theodore Cornelius, and Pearl Elizabeth.

Name

I have still not been able to confirm James and Josephine as the parents of William H. Whidden. William appears to be living with James and Josephine in Locklear, Florida for the 1880 US Census.

Death

Thanks to Jill Addison for the newspaper articles detailing the death of William Henry Whidden. The best we will ever get with this can only be personal opinion. It is great that we have such detail with the inquest and news articles. In my opinion either Harry, who couldn't swim, stepped in a deep spot and started to drown. Then William Whidden had some sort of heart failure (only a guess) and died while trying to save him. Or... William Whidden had a heart attack and Harry who could not swim died trying to save him. I would say only Harry or William could answer that question. -- Bill Brinkley 07/18/2010

Note

Bill and Kristie, Spessard Stone forwarded me your inquiry concerning "William H. Whidden." My grandmother was Gertrude Elizabeth Whidden and her father was William and her mother was Mary J. Whidden. My Grandmother's Family Bible confirms what you have written to Spessard so far as William and Mary's dates of death. There are no birth dates or birth places for William and Mary in the Family Bible. Theodore Cornelius Whidden is listed as T.C. Whidden in the Bible and his date of birth is June 6, 1892. From the information that you provided, I assume that your wife and I spring from the same Whidden line. Theodore Cornelius would be my great-uncle. No family member now living can explain why Theodore moved to Missouri and changed his name to Whitman. They all know that to be the correct information, but no one is sure why. As for the elusive William H. Whidden, I have tracked him down to a line of Whiddens that I THINK are his parents. I believe that his father was James Whidden and his mother was Josephine Whidden. According to the 1880 US census for Manatee County, Florida (Locklear), James and Josephine had two children Cornelius and William H. The birth places for James and Josephine and the children is listed as Florida. William H.'s age is listed as 14 at the time which could make his DOB 1866 or 1867 depending on the time the census was taken. I stopped at this point in my research as I was unable to confirm that this was in fact my William H.'s parents. There is another possible line for William, Bennette Whidden who married Emily Durrance Whidden had a son William Hutto Whidden born in 1867 and you should check the US census for Polk County, Florida (precinct 2) just in case. I have ruled this line out in my mind as his middle name was "Hutto" and the names of the children (William's siblings) do not seem as likely to have been passed down in our line. Looking at the "James and Josephine" line, the younger child "Cornelius" could have been passed down to your wife's Theodore Cornelius. I have tried to obtain a death certificate here in Florida for William H. Whidden DOD July 20, 1912 but have come up empty handed. Vital Statistics informed me that they have NO death certificate anywhere in Florida for the month of July 1912 for a William H. Whidden. I was hoping that the death certificate would list his parents names. I even called a Palm Beach newspaper and had them search their archives hoping to find some mention of a drowning for William H. No luck. We know that William H. remarried after his wife Mary J. died in 1905 but I have not found that marriage certificate either. My grandmother (Gertrude) and great aunt (Mary Frances Whidden Thompson) would not talk about their father and were very bitter that they were all split up as children and lived with different people in the Arcadia area after their mother Mary J. died. I think William H. abandoned the children, remarried and started a new life. I do have a copy of a photo of William with the five children (including Theodore Cornelius) that looks to be dated 1905-06. I will be glad to send you a photocopy if you would like. My sister has the actual photo and I can get you a copy if you are interested. Please let me know if you can find out any more information on William H. Whidden. If we can confirm that his parents were James and Josephine, then I think we can trace his line back pretty far. Keep in mind that the Whiddens were some of the original settlers in southwest Florida and there were many, many of them. Good luck.

Jill Thompson Addison (e-mail sent to Bill Brinkley June 19, 2004)

Note

Mr. Stone, I appreciate you forwarding my prior message on to the Brinkleys concerning William H. Whidden and their relative Theodore C. Whidden. I have not heard from them and was wondering if you would pass on the latest information that I received concerning their relative. According to my Father's cousin Delores Whidden Hendricks (James McSwain Whidden's daughter), Theodore Whidden n/k/a Dan Whitman, left Florida to avoid being sent to jail for failure to pay child support for his two sons here in Florida. Delores went to visit Dan Whitman in 1937 with her father James and my grandmother Gertrude. This was the reason that she was told for Uncle Dan's departure from Florida. Thank you for your help. Please let the Brinkleys know that both Delores and I are very anxious to make contact with them.

Jill Addison Granddaughter to Gertrude Whidden Thompson (e-mail forwarded to Bill Brinkley through Spessard Stone, June 21, 2004)

Note

Bill, Thank you for the reply. So sorry to hear about the death in the family. If you would like a copy of the photo that my sister has that shows William H. Whidden and all five children (including a teenage Theodore/Dan) let me know. Also, my Dad's cousin (James McSwain Whidden's daughter) is very anxious to talk to your side of the family so if you are so inclined, I can have her call or write to you. Remember she visited Dan Whitman in 1937 in Missouri and knows a bit about his past. Jill (e-mail sent to Bill Brinkley July 2, 2004)

Note

Jill,

Thanks for your replies. I talked to Ella Mae and she remembers when your Dad's cousin came to visit and she has pictures from the visit. She remebers James McSwain Whidden or Uncle Mac as she calls him. She says she would like to hear from his daughter.

She says she remembers that her Father (Theodore/Dan) grew up with Uncle William and his wife Ella. She also remembers Uncle Robert and his wife Sally. I will talk to her today and get more details. I will also snap a digital image or two of the 2 family bibles and the information in them and send it to you.

I do have some census images with the family if you would like them also. I did find William Whidden and his wife Mary in the 1900 DeSoto Co., Florida Census. It listed their children at the time Cornelius, Mary F., Eliza G., Perl E., and a border by the name of William Mercer. Ella Mae says that she remember that William Mercer was related in some way and may have possibly been related on William Whidden's Mother's side. I will try to clarify that.

I think Uncle William and his wife Ella may be Theodore/Dan's Uncle and Aunt from his Mother's side but I am not sure yet.

Is your internet connection fast enough to receive large files or would you rather I just threw any pictures etc. up on a website so you can view them. I use Family Tree Maker 10 to store all of my family history information... I can send you a copy of what I have on the Whidden side if you would like..

Thanks, Bill. (e-mail to Jill Addison, July 15, 2004)

Note

Bill, Thanks for the information. I am sure that Delores Whidden Hendricks (James McSwains daughter) would love to speak to anyone in the family out there. She has no children and is very interested in the family background. I can send along her phone number and address if Ella Mae would like to contact her. Could you ask Ella Mae if she has any idea when her father Theodore/Dan went to live with Uncle William and his wife Ella? How old he was or what year. Also does she have any information as to why the five children were given out to various relatives and friends? I am now trying to find out the name of William H. Whiddens second wife (the five kids step-mother) and the approximate date of their marriage. So far no marriage certificate in DeSoto county. I think that perhaps any marriage certificate will contain the names of his parents or at least let me try to find the stepmothers death certificate here in Florida. Perhaps then I can track down William H's death information. Does Ella Mae remember her father speaking about his father's death. There is so much mystery as to what happened to William H. and we have not been able to confirm that he died in Palm Beach County or that he did in fact drown in 1912. I think my computer is fast enough to get large files. I am not too computer savvy but we can try. Anything that you have would be great. I got most of my information from our family bible and the Spessard Stone connection. Just so you understand why I am so interested in the details surrounding William H. and his death, my grandmother Gertrude Elizabeth Whidden Thompson had a very difficult life and we were told that she was not placed with a family that was kind to her when the kids were split up. She and my great-aunt Frances (Mary Frances Whidden Thompson) NEVER spoke of their father William H. and there were definitely hard feelings in his direction. I will send Delores' phone number and address as soon as I can get it from my Mother.

Jill (e-mail sent to Bill Brinkley, July 19, 2004)

Note

Jill,

I will ask Ella Mae and get a picture of both. I believe 1 of the bibles is her Mother's (Theodore's wife). The other I am not sure of.

I do agree with you on James and Josephine being William's parents. The only other William H. I have seen in the area was William Hardy and not Henry. This is not his family and it seems to fit with him having a brother named Cornelius and then naming one of his sons Theodore Cornelius. I believe that there are more children than are listed on the page of the census they are on... they finish the page out and the next page starts with a Williams, but it says continued and the ages are too young to be head of household.

I believe the children may be William Henry (Feb. 1867), Cornelius(Abt. 1871), Azaline(Abt 1873), Harllee(Abt. 1874), Thomas(Abt. 1875), Susan Browning(Abt. 1876), and Thomas F.(Abt. 1877), and Jesse(Abt. 1879).

I was able to locate what I believe may be Josephine's maiden name DRIGGERS and they were married on December 28, 1865 in Polk, Florida http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/IGI/individual_record.asp?recid=500118475944&lds=1®ion=11®ionfriendly=North+America&frompage=99

I was also able to find a Josephine married to a James Whidden that was in Company A, of the 2nd Florida Cavalry during the Civil War. She filed for his Civil War pension around Aug. 11, 1909... perhaps James died around then if it is the same person. It helps that there are not a lot of Josephine Whidden's showing up in the records from what I have seen so far. I will have to try to verify some of the connections if possible and run some of the names of William's siblings by Ella Mae to see if she remembers anything then.

Thanks, Bill. (e-mail sent to Jill Addison, July 24, 2004)

Note

Bill, I received confirmation that William H. Whidden died in West Palm Beach on July 20, 1912 probably due to a heart attack. I contacted the Palm Beach Post newspaper and the research reporter helped my by contacting the Palm Beach Historical Society as the Post newspaper did not print news over the summer but only during the "season" which consisted of the winter months. The local paper "Tropical Sun" contained an article that stated that William Whidden collapsed in the surf after rescuing two women and attempting to rescue a young boy who was drowning. The autopsy revealed that there was not much water in William Whidden's lungs so they listed the cause of death as a possible heart attack. The Historical Society will not allow copies of the "Tropical Sun" to be made as they do not have the paper on microfilm and have the original paper that is in poor condition. This information, however, begs the question as to why there is no death certificate for William Whidden. As I told you, I have a letter from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics that states they have no death certificate for William for any month in 1912. I may try them again as the death certificate will confirm (I think) his parent's names and his second wife's name. Do you have any suggestions on finding a death certificate?

Jill (email sent to Bill Brinkley August 22, 2004)

Note

Bill, Boy, it has been a long time. I have been working on getting into DAR (on my Mother's side) and now am working on getting in the United Daughter's of the Confederacy on my fathers side through Ephraim Washington Thompson's Confederate military service. On the Whidden side ( I think that's our connection) I have found out that William H. Whidden really did die trying to save three people from a rip current in the ocean off of West Palm Beach. I had a reporter read me the old newspaper article that they have in the Palm Beach Historical Society archives (would not allow photocopies). William saved a two women but could not save the third person. Williams autopsy revealed he did not die of drowning but probably a heart attack as he collapsed in the surf. No Florida death certificate and I have not yet gotten down to West Palm to try to read the article myself. Also, I have been told that I can go to the courthouse and find out where his burial plot is. May be able to get a copy of the autopsy report too. What have you been working on? Did you ever contact Delores Whidden Hendricks? She is such a dear person and so interested in the family. Jill (e-mail sent to Bill Brinkley January 4, 2006)

Note

Jill,

I am not sure if Ella Mae contacted Delores or not. I will ask her about it. My project for the last year was finishing up my thesis for my graduate degree. I kind of put it off for a little bit...( 7 years...) and was glad to finally finish. I had to stay away from the computer most of the time to avoid getting side tracked.

So, I guess you haven't been able to verify William H. Whidden's parents yet. I have been looking at it and still haven't found anything. I did find William H. Whidden ( listed as William H. I. Whidden) living with Francis Prine on the 1880 census in Manatee Co., Florida. The birth date and everything fits. It seems kind of strange he is living with Francis Prine since just a couple of years before his Uncle John L. Whidden killed her husband.

I still haven't figured all of that out. Just from the fragments we see now it looks like he may have been a good man. The story Francis Prine told sounded like John shot her husband while he was beating her with a leather strap. I still can't figure all of the pieces together. I am not sure James and Josephine are William's parents, but if not I still think this is the right family.

I still wonder because William's later census records list both of his parents as being from Florida... but William may not have really known where they were both from.

I guess if we keep going we will figure something out eventually.

Bill. (e-mail sent to Jill Addison January 4, 2006)

Note

Hi, good to hear from you.

As far as I know William H. Whidden died in West Palm Beach on July 20, 1912 probably due to a heart attack. Jill Addison contacted the Palm Beach Post newspaper and the research reporter helped her by contacting the Palm Beach Historical Society as the Post newspaper did not print news over the summer but only during the "season" which consisted of the winter months. The local paper "Tropical Sun" contained an article that stated that William Whidden collapsed in the surf after rescuing two women and attempting to rescue a young boy who was drowning. The autopsy revealed that there was not much water in William Whidden's lungs so they listed the cause of death as a possible heart attack.

I know that there are "dry" drownings where muscle spasms prevent water from entering the lungs. This may be what really happened to William.

Thanks for the info, Bill (e-mail response to Ken January 1, 2006)

Hi-

I've been studying and enjoying your Whidden tree. I attended an SCV ceremony at Oak Hill cem. a year or so ago and noticed the grave of William H. and his wife. At the time I did not know who I was looking at. Next time I'm over that way I will take a camera.

I noticed your tree omits the military service of James. He mustered into Turners Mounted Volunteers on 09-15-1861 along with brothers William and George at Ft. Brooke, Tampa. On 02-23-1862, George was discharged due to his age by General Trapier. He was only 15. At this time, all the too young, too old, and too sick were discharged including John Underhill, my great grandma's older brother. He was the one Bone Mizell dug up and sent to New Orleans because "John never rode on a train". Search Bone Mizell for the story and others. On 06-15-1862, James and William deserted. This was about the time the company, now 8th Fl. regt. left for Lake City on their way to Richmond. There several desertions at that time, mostly by youngsters. They probably said no way I'm going to Northern Virginia, where ever it is. James then enlisted in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry at Key West a few days after Long John. Shortly they occupied the old Second Seminole Indian war fort at Ft. Myers. From there they participated in several skirmishes including 2 at Ft. Meade, 1 at Ft. Myers, one at Bayport/Brooksville, one or two at Cedar Keys and a major fight at Natural Bridge south of Tallahassee. Spessard Stone confirms his service with the Yankees. Hartman and Coles cites his service as a Rebel.

William is a puzzle. I read somewhere that Frank Ivey killed one of John's brothers. It must have been William as there is no trace of him. George is buried at Webster in the Linden cem. next to his wife.

I will probably set up a service history for James at Civilwarflorida.com. My only regret is that he deserted but what would another orphan do in that situation. He was only 17.

See LaMartin.com for more info and pictures of the family. Go to his genealogy section under Underhill for the info on Bennett and Spicy. There are also old tintypes of Bennett and Spicy and their Children. Bennett, of course was the oldest son of Lucinda and older brother of James.

Ken (e-mail to Bill Brinkley January 1, 2006)

Note

1880 Census Research (Williams born in 1867 + or - 1 year, FL):

Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 2, Polk, Florida; Roll: T9_131; Family History Film: 1254131; Page: 28.3000; Enumeration District: 129; Image: 0621.

Bennet and Emily Whidden with 9 children: William Kirby, S???, Harriet, Josephine, Julius, Adelline, Sidney, and Emily. This William would be the proper age born in 1867.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Locklear, Manatee, Florida; Roll: T9_130; Family History Film: 1254130; Page: 19.2000; Enumeration District: 104; Image: 0520.

James and Josephine Whidden with 2 children: Cornelius and William H. This may be the correct William (He actually has the correct middle initial). His brother Cornelius may be who he later names his son Theodore Cornelius Whidden after.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 2, Polk, Florida; Roll: T9_131; Family History Film: 1254131; Page: 29.2000; Enumeration District: 129; Image: 0624.

Here we find a William Whidden living with the Sparkman family.

-- Bill Brinkley March 2, 2008

EventWilliam H Whidden and Children Theodore, Mary, Eliza, Pearl, and McSwainWilliam H Whidden and Children Theodore, Mary, Eliza, Pearl, and McSwain
Format: image/jpeg
Image dimensions: 6,089 × 4,844 pixels
File size: 6,618 KB
Type: Photo
Highlighted image: no
Text:

Ella Mae loaned me this photo temporarily to scan into an electronic file. The Photo had moderate damage to different areas that I retouched.

The back of the photo says, "William Henry Whidden and Children Theodore Cornelius, Mary Frances, Eliza Gertrude, Pearl Elizabeth, and McSwain."

EventWilliam Henry Whidden (Watchman)William Henry Whidden (Watchman)
Format: image/jpeg
Image dimensions: 2,004 × 3,201 pixels
File size: 1,496 KB
Type: Photo
Highlighted image: no
Media objectWilliam H Whidden and Children Theodore, Mary, Eliza, Pearl, and McSwainWilliam H Whidden and Children Theodore, Mary, Eliza, Pearl, and McSwain
Format: image/jpeg
Image dimensions: 6,089 × 4,844 pixels
File size: 6,618 KB
Type: Photo
Highlighted image: no
Text:

Ella Mae loaned me this photo temporarily to scan into an electronic file. The Photo had moderate damage to different areas that I retouched.

The back of the photo says, "William Henry Whidden and Children Theodore Cornelius, Mary Frances, Eliza Gertrude, Pearl Elizabeth, and McSwain."

Media objectWilliam Henry WhiddenWilliam Henry Whidden
Format: image/jpeg
Image dimensions: 1,014 × 1,698 pixels
File size: 615 KB
Type: Photo
Highlighted image: yes