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Histories & mysteries of the genealogical variety.

The Mystery of Julius Hayden's First Wife

There was a family rumor: "Julius I was married up north before he moved to Georgia and married Harriet Cone," a cousin told us, but could tell us no more. Was it true? Did he just up and leave the first wife? What happened? No one seemed to know more.

Years later, we found a name of the alleged: Elizabeth Leslie. (This, not so coincidentally was also the name of his first child in the second marriage.)

Years after that, we found a marriage date for the Elizabeth Leslie marriage two years (5 March 1845) before he married my great-great-grandmother. But that was it. Leslies are rare on the vine in the area around where Julius I grew up; there was no Elizabeth Leslie that seemed to fit. Every once in a while, we'd do an occassional web search or geneosite search, and nothing ever seemed to come clean.

In February, however, we found some answers. I ended up doing a search on Elizabeth Leslie and the yearspan 1840 to 1850, and I found something. It wasn't quite a smoking gun, but it was hot to the touch and smelled of gunpowder.

Elizabeth B Leslie Birth: 19 October 1822-- Orange, Wells River, VT Death: 5 March 1845 -- Spouse: Elizabeth B Leslie Parents: John Warner Leslie, Lucia Brigham

5 March 1845 - the date given in the original geneology source as their wedding date turns out to have been her death date. My mom took this info to the Library of Congress and while she couldn't find a record of the marriage itself there, she did find Elizabeth Leslie's brother. And Elizabeth Leslie's brother named his eldest son... Julius Hayden Leslie.

Mystery mostly solved! We believe their actual marriage occurred in 1843. Julius' home town (Windsor, CT) and Wells River, VT are both on the Connecticut River which hosted a lively trade up and down. We know Julius was a traveler - he had clearly visited the southern states long before he moved down there.

There's another family story that he met Harriet Cone in Georgia when she was a small girl, and he was a young man - and that shortly after he returned home, and he sent her a barrel of goods with a doll stuck in the top for her. Unfortunately, they opened the other end of the barrel, and didn't find the doll buried at the bottom of it for months.

December 16, 2003 Update

According to this tree, Elizabeth Leslie died in Memphis.

* March 15, 2003 Julius A. Hayden I
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