Posted in Medford

Who are the Parents of Logan M. Medford and Thomas Naylor Medford?

[Don’t miss the comment by Jonathan Byers at the end of this post. He clarifies the mystery!]

I married a Logan who’s family is originally from Rutherford County, NC. While researching her family, I came across a man named Logan M. Medford who lived in Logan’s Store, NC in Rutherford County. Most of the Medfords in Western North Carolina lived in either Haywood County or McDowell County. The Haywood County Medfords are usually the descendants of Jonas Medford and the McDowell County Medfords the descendants of Israel Medford (my 5th Great Grandfather). So seeing a Medford, during the 1800s, living in Rutherford County was rather peculiar. Seeing the name “Logan Medford” made me wonder if there was a connection between the two families. How bizarre would that be?

Photo circa 1915. L-R: Bob Medford, Logan Medford, Edgar Medford, Daisy Medford, Emma Lee Beheler, Sudie Mae Medford Beheler holding Glen Roy Beheler. ksisk94 originally shared this on 25 Dec 2013 on Ancestry.com.
Photo circa 1915. L-R: Bob Medford, Logan Medford, Edgar Medford, Daisy Medford, Emma Lee Beheler, Sudie Mae Medford Beheler holding Glen Roy Beheler.
ksisk94 originally shared this on 25 Dec 2013 on Ancestry.com.

Logan wasn’t the only Medford in Rutherford County at the time. There was also a Thomas Naylor Medford living in Cool Springs, NC. Before living in Cool Springs, he spent some time living in Polkville in Cleveland County. I really wanted to know who the parents were of these two Medfords. They HAD to be the grandchildren of either Jonas or Israel. Jonas and Israel are assumed to be brothers as they are close in age and one of them takes the serious financial responsibility of signing the other’s marriage bond.

Logan and Thomas were born in 1859 and 1860 respectively, so I was hoping that they lived long enough to have their death certificates in the North Carolina Death Certificate database, which contains records from 1909 onward. I was in luck!

logan-medford-death-certificatethomas-naylor-medford-death-certificate

Logan Medford lived to be over 90 years old! He was born in McDowell County, NC on 15 Feb 1859, but the death certificate says 1849, which has to be an error according to many other records. His death certificate lists his wife as Celia Ann Mitchell, his father as Israel Medford and his mother as Adeline Medford. I have no doubt that Logan Medford is the son of Adeline Medford, but Adeline is the daughter of Israel. In order to save the deceased’s family potential embarrassment, I believe that the informant gave the name of Israel Medford as the father. Celia Ann Mitchell was 1st married about 1873 to John Godfrey. After he died in 1880, she married Logan almost a year later in 1881.

Thomas Naylor Medford was born 13 Mar 1860 and died 29 Mar 1940 in Rutherford Co, NC. His death certificate says that he is married to Florence Mode, but the father is listed as unknown and mother is listed as Cail Godfrey, an obvious reference to Celia Ann Godfrey. Why would the informant give the name of Thomas’ sister-in-law as his mother? More on this in a minute.

Before I move on, I should state why I started assuming that Logan and Thomas were brothers. They are both listed as living with each other in the same household with Adeline Medford in McDowell County during both the 1870 and 1880 census records. During the 1860 census, Logan is listed as living Adeline alone.

If we break down this timeline of events, we notice something very interesting:

  • Logan is born 15 Feb 1859 [source: death certificate]
  • Thomas is born 13 Mar 1860 [source: death certificate]
  • 1860 Census collected 18 Jun 1860

If Thomas was born before the census worker came to the house, then why was he not listed on the census? Perhaps his death certificate is true. Perhaps he was the illegitimate son of Celia Ann Mitchell instead of Adeline Medford. We need to find Celia in the 1860 census and see if she is with a son named Thomas with her. I am unable to find either of them.

Celia’s death certificate (her husband Logan as informer), says that her age is 70, which would put her date of birth at 1853. If this is true, then there is no way she fathered Thomas at 7 years old. The 1880 census lists her at 35 years old, which would put her being born in 1845. Her giving birth to Thomas at 15, is much more believable. Her death certificate goes beyond saying that HER father is unknown, it says that she was illegitimate.

I am still not ruling out the possibility that Adeline Medford is the actual mother of Thomas. Perhaps the informant did not want the embarrassment of listing Adeline Medford as his mother as a dead giveaway that Thomas was born illegitimate.

There is also the marriage certificates of both Logan Medford and Thomas Medford. They both list their father’s as unknown. Thomas lists his mother as D. A. Medford (Adeline) and says that she is still living and living in Cleveland County, NC. Logan lists his mother as Adeline.

thomas-naylor-medford-marriage-certificatelogan-medford-marriage-certificate

I am absolutely fascinated with Logan and Thomas. Their male descendants each have the Medford surname, but under different circumstances, their surnames would be entirely different. My hope is that we can one day convince one of these descendants to take a YDNA test. Based on the results of this test, we should be able to determine a surname that they match with. This may lead to clues to the real identity of their fathers.

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Author:

Jonathan Medford is an experienced genealogist who specializes in researching North Carolina records. Contact him at jon@medfordgenetics.com.

5 thoughts on “Who are the Parents of Logan M. Medford and Thomas Naylor Medford?

  1. I am curious to know if those of us that are possibly connected to this particular line of Logan ancestors are interested in seeing if our DNA has connections. Do you know if this is already in the works? I have done my DNA through ancestry so I would love to find any connection. My father has also had his DNA done. Please keep me posted.

    1. Hi Kim. I know you mentioned once before that you are a likely descendant of Felix Logan. I know just the guy you should talk to about this if you haven’t already. There is a researcher named Craig Mann that I have communicated with through Ancestry who I believe has done some YDNA research on this line. I sent him a message to look at the comments on this thread.

  2. I am the Logan descendant Jonathan referred to. Felix Logan was my 3rd great grandfather. One of his slaves – my 2nd great grandfather John Logan – was also his son. I recently received a DNA hit to a Neil Norris (a 2nd great grandson of Felix), who is off the branch of Alexander Lafayette Logan – is one of Felix’s white children. So, John and Alexander were brothers from different mothers. Woo!

  3. Hi, I was supposed to leave this comment months ago but some stuff came up and school… Well, I forgot, lol. Anyway, here’s what I know, from a message I sent Jonathan on Ancestry.com:

    “First of all, Logan Medford is my 2x great grandfather’s stepfather. I think I can clear up the whole mystery by telling you about my 3x great grandmother Cecilia Ann Mitchell.

    Cecilia Ann Mitchell was born in Turkey Cove, North Carolina, in 1853. Turkey Cove was a valley not too far from McDowell county. I have not successfully found her parents, and it’s driven me absolutely crazy. Anyway, I believe she was lying about her age in most official documents because Thomas Naylor Medford was DEFINITELY her son. She gave birth to him in 1860. Her neighbor at that time was Adeline Medford, a woman who had also had an illegitimate son, Logan, just a year before. She offered to take Cecilia’s baby so that her life wouldn’t be, as it would have been thought of then, “destroyed”. Adeline adopted the boy (not officially as far as I can tell), and raised him alongside Logan.

    Cecilia went on to marry John Godfrey, a distant cousin of Thomas Jefferson on his mother’s side I believe, and had a son named John Wesley Godfrey. I forget exactly when John Godfrey died, but I think it was around 1879. Either way, I believe Cecilia moved back home and probably reconnected to the Medford family. Logan would have been around twenty in 1880, and that’s around when Cecilia and John Wesley moved back. Now, this is where it gets complicated.

    Cecilia married Logan on February 24th, 1882. I think it was by a justice of the peace. Either way, around that time my great great grandfather, Hampton Thomas Medford, was born. He was born between 1881-1886, but he ALSO lied about his age all his life, so he could keep working, so we have no idea when he was actually born. His father was a former slave named Charles Greenlee. Now, I hope this took place before Logan and Cecelia married, but I don’t know for sure. Either way, Hampton lived with Cecilia after she married Logan, and they moved from farm to farm as sharecroppers. Hampton wrote a whole book about his life, remind me to try and get you a copy. Anyway, they were very poor, but he remembered his childhood fondly.

    Now, he did refer to Logan as his foster father, which suggests that while Logan may have been a father to him, he didn’t adopt him. In fact, in the 1900 census, Hampton (referred to as Hainp Greenlee), is listed as a servant. He later took his foster father’s last name, too, and it was my grandmother’s maiden name, Medford. He had a good relationship with his brother Bob Vance Medford, but it seems as though the family had problems. Cecilia did die in 1923, the same year Hampton’s daughter died, too.

    Now, Cecelia was listed as her father being unknown, but in one of her marriage records, her father was listed as John Mitchel, one L. If you find anything out about him, I’d be eternally grateful.

    So the summary of all of this is that Cecilia Ann Mitchell Godfrey Medford was the mother of Thomas Naylor Medford, whom she gave to Adeline Medford to raise, and when they were grown, she came back and married her son’s adoptive brother. It’s a weird, twisted situation that I still don’t fully understand, but that’s the gist of it.

    I don’t know who Logan’s father was, Adeline probably went to her grave with that knowledge. She mostly listed her own father as Logan’s for legality purposes I would assume, and Israel allowed it. Formidable family, by the way. Congratulations on being a full blood Medford, I wish we were.

    I also don’t know who Thomas’s father was, but I suspect Cecilia went to HER grave with that knowledge as well. It would seem as though Hampton is her only illegitimate child who knew his father.”

    And yeah. That’s what I know, word for word from what I typed up a while ago to explain what I remember from my own family history. Hope it helps!

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