Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Olive Wood, A Missouri Pioneer

This is a drawing of Olive Wood, who married Bennett Murray. I always wonder, when I see old photos and drawings, why they didn't smile. It was a serious business having your likeness captured. If Olive had smiled, you would be able to see the way her eyes crinkled and how her face lit up. Instead, she appears somber.

Olive was oldest child of Jesse Wood and his wife, Anna Henderson. She was born in Fredericktown, Madison, Missouri on February 17th. An old Bible entry sets the year at 1830, but on the 1850 census she was only 17 years old. He parents had a large family of nine children. Fredericktown is located in the NE foothills of the Ozarks. Jesse was a miner, a common occupation in that area.

Olive married Bennett Murray, a widower. He had a baby girl named Sarah who was born in 1850. They were married on 10 January 1851. Olive was Bennett's third wife, the first two having died young, probably with complications from pregnancy. She and Bennett had seven sons. Our ancestor, John Lewis, was the oldest of those sons. All of the boys were born in Missouri except one, who was born in Arkansas. The map shows the relationship of these places to the Mississippi River, Missouri's eastern boundary, and to Arkansas, at its southern boundary.

In 1859, Bennett bought land in Dent County, Missouri (B), about 92 miles west of Fredericktown (A). Bennett served in the Union Army during the Civil War, leaving Olive home to raise the boys by herself. During that time, he made at least one trip home to put in crops and see the family. By the 1880 census, the boys were all grown and gone from home. Olive died that year on July 3rd.

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