Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maiden Name for Rebecca, wife of Samuel Medlin

The Medlin family is on the Baldwin family line.  2nd great-grandpa Henry Stewart married Bettie Medlin.  This is about Bettie's mother, Rebecca.

After years of searching, I recently found the maiden name for Rebecca, the wife of Samuel Medlin of Wilson County and Davidson County, Tennessee.  To say I was excited would be a gross understatement.

Previously, the only official record I had of Rebecca was the 1850 Federal Census of Wilson County, Tennessee.  The 1850 census showed the Samuel and Rebecca family with the following children: Caroline, Emily, Nancy, Amanda, Eliza, Paralee, Riley, and Pinkney.  Our great-grandma, Bettie, was born a few years after the 1850 census was taken. 

According to family stories, Rebecca died shortly after Bettie (her youngest daughter) was born in about 1854.  After Rebecca's death, it appears that the older Medlin children married or were on their own and the younger Medlin children were raised by extended family or friends. Bettie Medlin was raised by the Barnett Richardson (his brother Caleb was married to Patsey Medlin) family in Putnam County, TN.  Rebecca's son, Isaac Pinkney was living with the Riley Medlin family in Putnam County, Tennessee in 1860.  Twenty-one year old daughter, Amanda was living with her older married sister, Emily Rogers, in 1860.  Records indicate that Samuel Medlin married again after the death of his wife Rebecca, but it does not appear that any of the children lived with him in his new marriage.

Several of the children ended up living in the Nashville area: Emily Medlin Rogers, Amanda Medlin Reed, William Riley Medlin and Isaac Pinkney Medlin.  I have never been able to find information concerning Caroline, Nancy or Eliza.

The Tennessee death certificates have just recently been placed online by   The only place that the maiden name for Rebecca has been found is on the Death Certificates for her sons, Isaac Pink Medlin and William Riley Medlin. 

Rebecca's maiden name as written on the death certificates for her sons is Morgan.  Did I mention that I was excited about this find? :)

Isaac Pinkney died at the age of 96.  The parent's names given on Pink's death certificate are:
Father - Sam Medlin b. Tennessee
Mother - Miss Morgan b. Tennessee
The informant listed on the death certificate was Pink's son, Morgan David Medlin

Riley died at age 80.  The parent's names given on Riley's death certificate are:
Father - Sam Medlen b. Tennessee,
Mother - Beckie Morgan b. Tennessee
The informant listed on the death certificate was Mrs. W. R. Medlin (Riley's wife, Kate).

Many thanks to the volunteer indexers of who made this possible.  The death certificates can be found on  If you would like to help volunteer and index records, please go to Worldwide Indexing.  The records that are indexed by volunteers are free and available to everyone.  Volunteering to index is easy and fun to do!

Can't tell you how much money I had previously sent to the Tennessee State Archives, trying to locate and obtain these death certificates without success.  At that time, I was charged a $10 fee for a 3 year (timespan) search, where I would give them the year to search from.  I certainly did not think that Pinkney would live to be 94 years old!  Now these records are free on  Yea!!  I think that I mentioned before that I was really excited to find the Tennessee Death Records online!:)

Some "Family Stories or Traditions" concerning Rebecca Morgan
 -- Remember these are not proven.
Some descendants recall stories about an Indian Grandma.  Was Rebecca Morgan a Cherokee Indian??
In a 2002 telephone conversation with Henry Reed Jr. of Madison, TN (descendant of Rebecca's daughter, Amanda Medlin Reed), Henry said that his great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian. He said that she (Rebecca) was born before the Indian removal. When the Cherokee's were driven out of Tennessee on the "Trail of Tears", Rebecca hid out in the mountains. The mountains were in the southern part of Tennessee -- one was called Lookout Mountain. Henry said he saw a picture of his grandmother, Rebecca, when he was a boy and she looked Indian. Henry also said that "Rebecca" was not her real name, it was a name given to her when she was christened and her real Indian name is lost to anyone's memory. He also recalled stories handed down in the family of how Rebecca would teach her children how to gather herbs and make traditional Indian medicines. 
Bettie Medlin Stewart also passed down stories about her mother being an Indian.  A great-grandson, Joe Baldwin, recalled stories Bettie told about her Indian mother and white father being attacked by Indians who were mad because her Indian mother had married a white man.  Bettie said that her father was scalped by the attacking Indians and her mother left for dead.  Could these stories be about her grandparents instead of parents?!?  Probably so.  Research shows that her father, Samuel, lived years after her mother died, so this story can't be about him. Since her mother died of Cholera when Bettie was an infant, Bettie never knew her mother and was raised by extended family.  She may have confused the stories she heard as a child, thinking they were of her mother instead of her grandmother.  My feeling is that these stories may be about her mother's parents.  As more records become available, perhaps we can solve this mystery about Rebecca's parents.
If anyone has any information concerning Rebecca Morgan, please leave a comment.
Also, all descendants of Samuel Medlin and Rebecca Morgan are encouraged to participate in DNA testing.

See post about the death of Rebecca Morgan Medlin.


Anonymous said...

So glad you found this! Thanks so much for posting the death certificates. I, too, have been trying to find Rebecca's maiden name. Hopefully this new information will lead to finding Rebecca's parents.
You have certainly done a great job on the Medlin's!!

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Morgan Medlin may be one of the Morgan children taken in by the Giles Elrod family. Supposedly the Elrod family took in several children by the name of Morgan and raised them. The mother asked the Elrod's to raise her children before she died. She (the mother) was a Cherokee Indian -- not sure what the father was, maybe white.
You can find this information on some of the Elrod message boards.

Anonymous said...

Has any of the descendants done a DNA test to see if they have Native American roots?