Picture of Dennis Prue

Dennis Prue

Dennis has been researching family trees for more than 30 years. His expertise has been invaluable in helping to break through brick walls.


Solving a Puzzle

Several months ago, ACGS received a letter asking for help solving a puzzle. I must first state that the names and some towns have been changed so the person who requested the help remains unknown. The letter told about the author’s great grandmother Barbara Wright and asked why was a man named Jason Allen also on her headstone and how were they related and if there was any connection. The headstone listed Jason Allen as her son.

I start looking for a marriage for Barbara Wright to a Mr. Allen. I was unable to find a marriage record. But the letter had said Barbara had been married several times. I was able to trace Barbara and her marriages. The following information is what I found on Barbara and several husbands.

In 1901 at a young age, Barbara married a man named John Martin Albert in southern Maine. They soon divorced.

Barbara remarried in the fall of 1903 to Daniel Higgins. She had two children, Edward, born in late 1903, and daughter Mariah in 1906. Daniel and Barbara got divorced.

In the fall of 1908, Barbara married for the third time to Francis Kelly. Francis Kelly died in June of 1909 in South Portland.

Sometime after June of 1910, Barbara is in the census as Barbara Kelly with 4-year-old Mariah Kelly (should have been listed as Higgins), so I went to 1920 looking for Barbara Kelly. I could not find her. I decided to find Jason Allen, the man listed on her headstone. By searching for Jason, I found Barbara. She was now married to Jasper Allen with two sons: James, age 3, and Jason, age 1; and knew this was the correct family because Edward Higgins, age 16, is listed as Jasper Allen’s step-son.

I wondered where her daughter Mariah Higgins aka Kelly, was living. I found her living with one of Barbara’s sisters. But there was a surprise in the 1920 census, Mariah Higgins, age 14, and new half-sister Lianne Garnett age 4. Barbara moved from southern Maine to Aroostook County around 1912/1913. She had a daughter Lianne born in the fall of 1913 by Howard Garnett. The childbirth record listed both parents, and Lianne was called a Garnett, but their marriage record was not found.

Jasper and Barbara were in the Greater Bangor area. Just like Barbara’s marriage to Howard Garnett, I have not found a marriage record for Jasper Allen to Barbara. While trying to find their marriage record, I discovered Barbara left Jasper and married Henry Brown in March of 1922 and had child Olive Brown in December of 1922. Jasper Allen was still alive and living in the Bangor area with his sons James & Jason. Jasper died sometime in the 1940s.

In the 1930 census, Barbara is now married to Owen Williams. Only her daughter Olive Brown is with her and Owens’s 10-year son Gene.

Barbara’s other children:

  • Edward Higgins was married and had a family. He lived in western Maine.
  • Mariah Higgins married at 17 and died at age 29, leaving a young family.
  • Lianne Garnett married around the age of 16.
  • James Allen married and lived in the Bangor area.
  • Jason Allen also married and stayed in the Bangor area.
  • Olive Brown married and lived in rural Washington County in Maine.

Barbara stayed married to Owen Williams.

I found that Jason Allen was Barbara’s son and that Barbara had multiple marriages.

I found Barbara’s marriage to:

  • John Martin Albert 1901,
  • Daniel Higgins 1903,
  • Francis Kelly 1908,
  • Henry Brown 1922 and
  • Owen Williams 1929.

I am still looking for her marriage to Howard Garnet between 1910 and 1913 and also her marriage around 1915 to Jasper Allen. Some of Barbara’s sisters and aunts also had multiple marriages.

Creative Commons License
Solving a Puzzle by Dennis Prue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at ac-gs.org.