Dr. Calvin J. Allred of Ocala, Florida by Linda Allred Cooper
This article started off as a nice reflection on a newspaper article I found about a Double Wedding that took place in Ocala, Florida, on September 19, 1900. The brides, Martha Jeanette and Lillias, were sisters, the daughters of Dr. C. J. Allred and his wife. Dr. Allred was a local dentist. However, I became curious about who Dr. Allred was and how an Allred came to be living in Florida, and this article grew into a mystery and lesson in how that old saying is true: “only believe half of what you see and some of what you hear”. The newspaper article that started this whole research adventure was from page 1 of The Ocala Evening Star of Ocala, Florida, published September 20, 1900.
The city of Ocala is noted for surprises, but one of the most pleasant of the many that have been sprung on the city of late was the dual wedding last evening when at 7 o’clock, at the residence of her brother, Neill M. Allred. Miss Martha Jeanette Allred was married to Mr. William Walter Haynes of Jacksonville, and her sister, Miss Lillias Brown Allred was united in marriage to Mr. Gabriel Toombs Palmer, also of Jacksonville. Only Mr. and Mrs. Allred, Mrs. Allred’s parents, Capt. and Mrs. G. M. Hubbard, and the young ladies’ grandmother, Mrs. McPhearson, were present.
Rev. T. J. Nixon of the Methodist church, with the Episcopal ceremony, married the young couples simultaneously, Mr. Allred giving the fair brides away. The Brides were dressed in simple but pretty traveling dresses, and the handsome grooms in conventional black. After the hearty congratulations of the family, the little party partook of a daintily prepared supper at Mr. and Mrs. Allred’s hospitable board.
The first mentioned bride, Miss Jeanette Allred, has resided much of the time for several years in Jacksonville, where she held a responsible position in the high school of that city, and received much flattering notice from the press of the state for her efficient work in that capacity, and as a fitting tribute to her worth in this line, was offered a splendid position in one of the leading schools of New York City which she accepted, but resigned to get married. Miss Lillias has taught also, in the private schools of Ocala, and has made splendid progress. Both of the sisters are beautiful, accomplished and popular, and are two of our city’s most noble young women.
The grooms are both stalwart young business men, intelligent and talented. Mr. Haynes is a popular young lawyer of Jacksonville, of the firm of Smith & Haynes. He recently came to that city from Clarksville, Tenn., and has attained signal success in his profession. Mr. Palmer is connected with the A.V. & W. railway in the Jacksonville office, was formerly of Atlanta and is a fine specimen of the young Southern businessman. Both Mr. Haynes and Mr. Palmer will reside in Ocala. The two couples will keep house at the Allred home place and about the first of the month will open a commercial brokerage business in Ocala. The Star and all of there many friends wish the young folks happiness.
Martha Jeanette and Lillias Allred were the daughters of C. J. Allred and his wife Mary McPherson, but the article does not mention the parents being at the wedding, so my question was “why?” The answer was found on the tombstone of the brides’ father. Dr. Calvin J. Allred, born August 1, 1826, died September 3, 1900 (just 16 days before the wedding), and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Ocala, Florida. His wife, Mary, May 28, 1843 – July 19, 1900 (just 3 months before the wedding), is buried beside him. This puts a whole new perspective on their daughters’ quiet double wedding; their parents had just died. This explains why the wedding was quiet and small with just immediate family present; the family was in mourning. This also explains why the two newly wed couples were planning to “keep house at the Allred home place”; the brides’ home was now empty.
I did not find an obituary, but Page 3 of The Ocala Evening Star published Saturday, September 8, 1900, contained “A Biographical Sketch” of Dr. Allred:
Facts in regard to the life of the late Dr. Calvin J. Allred. He was born near Little Rock, South Carolina, August 6, 1826. His first visit to Marion County from his native state was in 1856, but he returned to Marion, SC, at the outbreak of the war and during part of that memorial struggle was in charge of the arsenal at Fayetteville, NC.
He was married to Miss Julia A. Townsend, of South Carolina, in 1853. The fruit of that union were five children, one of whom survives, Henry McPherson Allred, of New Orleans. His second marriage was consummated February 1869 to Miss Mary McPherson, and to them six children were given, all of whom survive. Dr. Allred made his second advent to Marion County in 1865, and a few years later became a resident of Ocala. Since then his life is well known to the older residents of this city, who respected and honored him for the manhood that was displayed in his everyday life with his fellows.
Now, my curiosity was tweaked. Although I do not claim to know where all Allreds were born at all times, I had not heard of an Allred family living in Little Rock, South Carolina, in the early 1800s. Little Rock is a tiny little town in Dillon County, SC, just south of the North Carolina state line. I have driven through there many times on my way to Dillon Motor Speedway to watch my son race. Who was this Dr. Calvin J. Allred? It was time to learn more about him. I found Calvin and family listed on the 1900 Federal Census for Ocala, Marian County, Florida:
Alred, C. J. 73 Dentist (retired) born NC Mary 57 born NC Martha J. 26 School Teacher born FL Mary E. 24 Insurance Clerk born FL Marion D. N. 22 Day Laborer born FL Lillias B. 19 School Teacher born FL John C. 18 Clerk (dry goods) born FL McPherson, Martha 82 Mother-in-Law born NC
The census tells us Calvin, his wife Mary were born in North Carolina. Calvin and Mary had been married 31 years and she had given birth to 6 children, all 6 were still alive. Mary’s mother, Martha McPherson, also born in North Carolina, lived with the family and stated she had given birth to 3 children, 2 of whom were still alive. All of Calvin and Mary’s children were born in Florida. Calvin was a retired Dentist. But, the newspaper article about the Double Wedding stated Calvin was born in South Carolina. Knowing census records contain all sorts of mistakes, I kept on digging and found Calvin, Mary and their family living in District 1, Marion County (Ocala) per the 1880 census:
Allred, C. J. 54 Dentist born NC Mary A. 37 wife born NC Julia 19 daughter born SC Henry 14 son born FL Neil 10 son born FL Mattie 8 daughter born FL May 6 daughter born FL Duncan M. 4 son born FL Lillias B 7 months daughter born FL Harriett 22 Niece Ward born SC Jeanette 79 Mother born NC McPherson, Neil 79 Father-in-Law born NC Martha 63 Mother-in-Law born NC
Once again, Calvin and Mary are listed being born in North Carolina. Mary’s father and mother are both living with them and were both born in North Carolina. Matter of fact, per this census there was a large extended family all living under one roof. Calvin’s mother, Jeanette, also born in North Carolina was living with them along with a niece, Harriett, also born in North Carolina. All of Calvin and Mary’s children were born in Florida except for the oldest, daughter Julia, who was born in South Carolina. By this we now know Calvin was in South Carolina for a little while at least since one of his daughters was born there.
Per the 1870 census, the family was living in Marion County, Florida and, once again, Calvin and Mary were listed being born in North Carolina. However, their three children Walter, Julia and Henry, were all born in South Carolina. Youngest child, Neil, was born in Florida giving us a time frame for when the family moved to Florida. But, I noticed a problem, Calvin’s wife, Mary, was only 26 years old per this census. She could not be the mother of 15 year old Walter. Looks like the newspaper article was right about Calvin being married twice and Mary being the second wife. Note: on the 1880 census, son Henry was listed being born in Florida, but in 1870 he is listed being born in South Carolina.
Allred, Calvin J. 44 Dentist born NC Mary 26 Keeping House born NC Walter M. 15 born SC Julia S. 9 born SC Henry M. 4 born SC Neil M. 6 months born FL Janette 67 born NC Elizabeth 51 born NC Benjamin 16 Black, Domestic Servant born SC Johnson, Harriette 11 Mulatto, Dom. Servant born SC Townsend, Amanda 18 White, Dom. Servant born SC McPherson, Martha 52 born NC Neil 78 born NC
But here is where the story takes another turn into mystery. I found the Marriage License for Calvin and Mary McPherson who married in Cumberland County, North Carolina, on February 18, 1869. The 1870 census in which Calvin and family were enumerated was dated July 8, 1870. Note the youngest child, Neil, was 6 months old per the census, meaning he was born in February, about the same time Calvin and Mary were married. So – who was Neil’s real mother? Was Neil’s mother the first wife, Julia, who possibly died during the child birth and Calvin immediately – within days of her death – remarried? Or was Neil’s mother Mary who was pregnant and possibly had already given birth prior to marrying?
The 1860 census finds Calvin living with his first wife, Julia, in Marion County, South Carolina. Once again the newspaper article is correct about him at least living in South Carolina. Note: in all earlier account, Calvin was a Dentist but, per this census, he was working as a Jeweler. This time, Calvin is listed as being born in South Carolina and his wife, Julia (spelled Julian on census) was born in North Carolina. Was this one of those common mistakes found on census records? The newspaper article said Julia was born in South Carolina. The puzzle continues.
Aldred, Calvin J. 38 Jeweler Julian 26 wife Walter 5
It took some searching, but I believe I found Calvin living with his mother and siblings in Montgomery County, North Carolina. Per the 1880 census, Calvin’s mother was Jeanette, age 79. Here she is Jane, age 48, not an exact match, but close. Calvin was born 1826, so would have been 24 years old if the date on his tombstone is correct. Per the 1860 census, he was 38. Per the 1850 census, he was 21. Close, but not an exact match. Jane/Jeanette is listed as Head of Household telling us, most likely, her husband was deceased.
Aldred, Jane 48 Elizabeth 27 Duncan 25 Calvin 21 Christian 18 Johnson, Wm L. 15
Note: Calvin and Mary’s marriage license tells us his parents were John and Jeannet Allred. There appears to be a match to the family living in West Pee Dee River District of Montgomery County, NC, on the 1840 Census. It is not an exact match, but as you saw above, the census records contain a lot of errors and rarely match up exactly from census to census. Was Calvin’s father much older than his wife Jeanette? Was his advanced age the reason why he is not listed on the 1850 census and he was deceased?
Aldred, John 1 free white male age 10-14 1 free white male age 60-69 1 free white female age 10-14 1 free white female age 30-39
Further information about Calvin and his parents was not found during this search. If you have additional information or can help identify this family, please contact me.