Saturday, January 30, 2010

Women Surname Search

Went To Cemetery for Help

In Cool Springs, Rutherford, NC there is a Wells Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery where Cain Gross and wife Mary were supposedly buried in Row 15, at least according to the 2001 index. Mary Morris and Cain Gross had two daughters, Ella and Mary L., last found in the 1880 census at the age of ten and twelve. How could the cemetery help me find the surnames of these daughters?

Cain Gross’ tombstone date agreed with the death records on file. But I had not found a Mary Gross with the correct dates in the records. So who was this Mary Gross buried six plots away from Cain? Who knows, but not my Mary Gross! There were several Mary’s in this large Gross family.

I had notes on all the graves in row 15 and surrounding rows when I went back to Rutherfordton Court House to look up information. Obsessed with the tombstone of Mary Gross, I began there.

From the marriage records, I whimsically took note of a Mary Gross who married a James Gudger. This couple had a child by the name of Edward who served in the military. His military record confirmed his mother as Mary Gudger and although he was born in Rutherford, at the time they were living in New York. Could this be a clue?

With large ledgers surrounding me, I began to search Mary Gudger. I only wish all searches were this easy! Luckily for me, Cain Gross had been a farmer and upon his death in 1896, left real estate to his wife and daughters. And in researching the 17th Feb. 1898 Register of Deeds, I was able to find the sale of this land. This document revealed the surnames of the daughters and confirmed that Mary Gudger, the wife of James, was of the former wife of Cain Gross.

Daughter Ella, mentioned as Jane Miller, (E.J on seal), was married to William Miller; and daughter Mary was married to Jacob Mills. It just so happened that Janie Miller was buried on Row 15 at the Wells Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery in 1924.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers


  1. More good sleuthing! Good for you! You can get lost in the Gross/Grose records in NC, for sure!


  2. I use this blog to educate my clients mostly. I hope I'm giving ideas and tips on researching. Many of them like to dabble first and use me for brick walls. This allows me to send them to a link, when they have questions.

  3. Yes, an excellent teaching technique... that all of us can learn from as well. Thanks, again! I really enjoy them. Does remind me of when I prepared the BCG portfolio... ;-)

  4. Persistence has paid off. Excellent job using traditional research methods! Theresa