May 27, 2014

Farewill to Sin and Sorrow: The story of Wealthy Jane Stancil and William Avera

Wealthy Jane Stancil and William Avera were apparently quite a pair. Family word has it that Wealthy had at least 4 illegitimate children with William, who was single, so the question is:  Why didn't they marry? 

The families lived on adjoining farms and a family rumor has it that they could not marry since one of them had Indian blood. I've found no evidence of Indian blood on the Stancil side. I've also found no evidence that they lived together.

According to the Bastardy Bond of September 1842, William was required to pay $25 to help support the child for his first year and then $10 annually. There would be three additional bastardy bonds to follow.

Poor Wealthy was even criminally charged with having a bastard child and hauled before a couple of JPs to answer the charge. Early in the process, Wealthy refused to name the father, but eventually the law caught up with him and he was required to pay child support. 

The story takes a sweeter turn when I learned that Wealthy treasured a Free Will Baptist Hymn Book that her mother apparently bought in 1833. Wealthy's mother was Edney Moore Stancil, my 4th great grandmother. Notes in the book indicate that one of Wealthy's sons was George Robert Stancil. Wealthy wrote her name in the front of the hymnal in 1837.



We all have our reasons for doing the things we do  - like not marrying in spite of having 4 illegitimate children at a time in history when such a thing was so hurtfully impactful to everyone concerned. I'd love to know more of Wealthy's story.  


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