Friday, December 16, 2011

Will the Real Thomas Gillespie Please Stand?

For some time now, there has been much confusion (for me) about Nancy Gillespie because after looking at the various documents that have surfaced in the past couple years it appears that she - or more correctly stated - some person or persons with the name of Nancy Gillespie - is both a wife and a sister of Thomas Gillespie. Gad - really???

I have turned this problem every which way, and just can't seem to piece it together. Nancy was the petitioner for the probate of Elizabeth Gillespie and therein named herself as a sister and Thomas as a brother of Elizabeth. And yet in another document where Thomas Gillespie was declared incompetent, Nancy was named as the wife of Thomas. Gad - really???

What I'm learning is to go back over every shred of evidence mostly because I have now caught myself OVERlooking what is in front of me, and by that I mean I may have seen the evidence, I may have read it and filed it and posted it, but there's a very good chance that I didn't fully understand it. Such is the case for a document I found at the FHL in April 2011.

The document in question is a land deed from Thomas Gillespie to John Robert Slater in October 1860. Since Thomas Gillespie Sr. died in 1859 in Oakland County, Michigan, I presumed this document pertained to Thomas Gillespie Jr., further presuming that Thomas Jr. had somehow inherited his uncle's interest in Elizabeth Gillespie's estate (and even there I'm only guessing that Thomas Sr. was uncle to Thomas Jr.!). Furthermore, the document refers to Thomas Gillespie as being of Cavanacaw, in the County of Armagh, and it is even signed by a solicitor from Armagh! But again, I somehow pushed that aside, even knowing that Thomas Jr. was not born in Ireland, I thought somehow it was referring to Thomas Sr.'s birthplace. My gosh - look what the brain does when it doesn't grasp meaning! Well, every single thing I just wrote about is completely WRONG. And yes, eating crow is my new favorite pastime.

How can I say this when it seems so obvious? Elizabeth Gillespie's brother Thomas was a resident of Ireland. He did not live in either the United States or Canada (where Elizabeth's half-siblings had emigrated). This Thomas, the real brother of Elizabeth Gillespie, is a separate individual from the Thomas Gillespie who was married to Nancy and declared incompetent and died in 1859. He is the brother who stayed in the homeland. OMG.

So who was Thomas Gillespie Sr., the second husband of Nancy Gillespie, sister of Elizabeth? This could well be another case of cousin marrying cousin, which is probably the only thing that makes sense - as if there is any sense to be had in the tangled web of this family! So now the parentage of Thomas Gillespie Sr. becomes a mystery. Naturally I get to swap one mystery for another. WhatEVER.