Family Of Hillary Lillian Vaughan and Jesse Otto (Jeffery) Scarff (maternal grandparents) / with Notices of Wilcox & McMillen / my Chipman family (a ghostly emulsion)
Revised April 11, 2017
I penned a genealogical book entitled Some Chipman Families Of The Southern States, the last edition of which appeared in March 1993. Occasionally a copy of an earlier edition comes up for sale on Amazon.com. I lost my copy of the first edition, so I bought one. It had been given a library binding by the library and then replaced with a later edition. The book covered many families who intermarried with the Chipmans. One of them was the Vaughan family of my maternal grandmother Hillary, who was little more than 15 years old when she married Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff.
The Vaughans were early Missouri settlers, who came to the section from Kentucky. My second great-grandfather Wilson Milton Vaughan (1850–1950), a Miller County character, missed being 100 years old by less than two months. His son, my great-grandfather Eric Lyman Vaughan, moved to Wapello County, IA, where he died at the age of 30.
This clipping from The Autogram of Miller County for December 5, 1940 commemorates Wilson Milton Vaughan’s 90th birthday:
(Miller County History, 17 Jun 1983.)
Our first proven Vaughan ancestor is Joshua Vaughan (father of Wilson Milton Vaughan), who married Elizabeth (Betsey) Birdsong:
Although Birdsong is a Native American name, these Birdsongs weren’t Native American. They first appeared in York County, VA in the early 18th century, and were later prominent in Sussex County. Birdsong is thought to be a corruption of a name possibly Scandinavian in origin, like “Bartsong” or another phonetic variant.
Because the Vaughans were numerous, with many bearing the same given names, I cannot with certainty identify a place of origin beyond KY. There is one Vaughan family centered in Bedford County, VA in the late 18th century who appear closely related, and members of it probably migrated to Monroe and Barren Cos., KY. What is certain is that the Vaughans of Cooper Co., MO were from Barren and Monroe Cos., KY.
But who was Joshua Vaughan? He was born in 1805 in VA, exact place unknown.
According to Jefferson Davis Vaughan, a son of Joshua Vaughan by Joshua’s second wife Susan Wyrick, Joshua wasn’t a “Vaughan” at all—his birth surname was actually “Wilson,” and he had been adopted by a Vaughan.
I have a problem with that story. The first formal adoption law in the United States was enacted in MA in 1851. In the South, orphans were bound out by the county courts to serve as apprentices, to a relative, or someone unrelated. But could Joshua “Wilson” have been informally adopted by a Vaughan family—who may have been related to his birth family—and he simply took the name of “Vaughan?” Of course, and that’s the difficulty with family tales like this: there’s no independent evidence for or against this version of Joshua’s origins. But the legal machinery in existence at the time Joshua would have been “orphaned” doesn’t support Jefferson Davis Vaughan’s account.
Joshua is also alleged to be the son of Benjamin and Susanna (Burnett) Vaughan, but for chronological reasons, that’s unlikely. Benjamin Vaughan is presumed to be the son of William Vaughan Sr. of Monroe Co., KY. My theory is that Benjamin Vaughan was Joshua Vaughan’s uncle, and that Joshua was actually the son of William Vaughan Jr., whose wife is unknown. William Vaughan Jr. didn’t make the trek to MO and may have died in KY. Joshua did name his first son William. But nearly all of the early records in Monroe Co., KY, except for the tax records, are lost. It’s one of the most total courthouse disasters I’ve seen.
This pedigree, however, begins with the Scott family. Thomas Scott Jr., son of Thomas Scott and Sarah Mahurin [see marriage bond in “Branching Of The Yoke (Crossing Howland” column)] was an interesting figure. (See “THOMAS SCOTT JR., FREEMASONRY, AND MILLER CO., MO POLITICS” column.]
Thomas Scott Jr. moved to CA, but his wife America Stillwell remained in Miller County, supporting the opinion that their marriage was unhappy. America was probably a descendant of the Stillwell family of Dubois County, Indiana, and the daughter of Richard Stilwell. It’s a common problem with pioneer families searching for the Promised Land: families split up, and often the place they came to was no better or even worse than the place they’d left. In due course Thomas Scott Jr. returned to Miller County, but never again lived with America.
The page in Some Chipman Families Of The Southern States regarding the Scott family used an unorthodox system of notation, so I’ll just give the highlights. The principle treatise on this Scott family is:
Scott, E. Harrison. (1951). Arthur Martin Scott 1777-1858 His Ancestors and His Descendants. Dayton: The Otterbein Press.
Arthur Scott, son of Arthur and Agness Scott, was born ca. 1736/7, probably in Chester Co., PA. He married on 25 Apr 1765, Jean Ross. After a brief sojourn in Washington Co., PA, Arthur Scott moved to Shelby Co., KY, where on 29 Sep 1805 his son Thomas Scott wed Sarah Mahurin, daughter of Samuel Mahurin, a descendant of Hugh Mahurin of Taunton, MA. For about 4 years Arthur Scott lived on Brashears Creek, and then purchased land on Little Beech Creek. He was a Constable in Shelby Co. Arthur Scott died ca. 1824/5 and was probably buried on his farm.
Arthur Scott sold his son Thomas Scott a tract of 159 1/2 acres on Beech Creek for the token amount of $1.00. In 1821 Thomas Scott sold the land and moved to Dubois Co., Indiana. The couple moved on to Miller Co., MO, and were living as late as 29 Jan 1858, when they sold 160 acres of land to Lev W. Albertson.
Thomas Scott Jr., the subject of the above short biography, was born 8 Dec 1816 in Shelby Co., KY, and died 30 Aug 1887 in Miller Co., MO, after having returned from CA due to an apparent failure in operating a mine. He was an active Mason. His wife, America (Stillwell) Scott, died 13 Nov 1897. Thomas and Sarah (Mahurin) Scott, and Thomas Scott Jr. and wife America are buried at Scott Cemetary, Tuscumbia, MO.
Thomas Scott Jr. recorded the births of his children in the family bible, and daughter Rachel Jane Scott, first wife of the above mentioned Wilson Milton Vaughan, was born on Sunday, 17 Apr 1859 in Miller Co. On 11 Mar 1875 she married Wilson, and their 6th child was my great-grandfather, Eric Lyman Vaughan 29 Sep 1885–19 May 1916.
(This faded photo is the only one I have of Eric Lyman Vaughan as an adult, but by cropping it I managed to give a fair rendering of his face.)
(This record, from the 1915 Iowa state census, is useful because Eric Lyman Vaughan’s first child was born in 1911, after the 1910 Federal Census, and Eric died in 1916, before the 1920 Federal Census. The availability of state censuses varies; check with your state archives.)
(The elegant Nora Ann McMillen. Those Southern flowers, once so beautiful, the sickly sweet smell of decay.)
[A drab Nora Ann (McMillen) Vaughan Messer (Left) holding her granddaughter Valerie, ca. 1930. Other woman and baby unknown.]
[Tombstone of Eric Lyman Vaughan and Nora Ann (McMillen) (Vaughan) Messer, Brooks Cemetary near Ottumwa, Wapello Co., IA.]
(Marriage record of Thomas Calvin McMillen and Nancy Theodocia Wilcox, Miller Co., MO, 9 Oct 1887. Miller Co., MO Marriage Book C, p. 361. Nancy’s middle initial is incorrectly shown as “J.” The marriage took place at the home of her mother, Manerva Wilcox. Click on image to enlarge it.)
[Tombstone of Nancy Theodocia Wilcox (13 Jul 1861–18 Apr 1910; tombstone gives birth year as 1862), whose blue blood and lack of judgement brought distinction and ruin to my mother’s family; buried with her second husband Thomas Calvin McMillen (25 Dec 1864–3 Feb 1935) at Brooks Cemetary, Wapello Co., IA. Two of their children are buried with them. It’s doubtful Nancy ever learned of the fate of her first husband, James T. Burris, who deserted her for Miller Co. trollop Charlotte Colvin and disappeared into the Indian Territory. Nancy divorced Burris “in abstentia.”]
[Here’s an obscure item: the obituary for Thomas Calvin McMillen in the Ottumwa Courier, Tuesday, 5 Feb 1935, p. 13. The author of this notice had few words for the departed. McMillen actually died in Henry Co., IA, but was shipped to Ottumwa in Wapello Co. to be buried in Brooks Cemetary beside his wife, Nancy Theodocia (Wilcox) McMillen.]
Eric Lyman Vaughan married Nora Ann McMillen, daughter of Thomas Calvin and Nancy Theodocia (Wilcox) McMillen. They had 3 children: Virgil Zennia Vaughan, Hillary Lillian Vaughan, and Harold Milton Vaughan. Nora Ann (McMillen) Vaughan remarried to Sheridan Messer and had four children: Milo Messer; Dwight Messer; Rebekah Louise Messer (m. Warren Stiefel); and Joseph Thomas Messer.
(Virgil Zennia Vaughan and Hillary Lillian Vaughan, ca. 1914.)
(Marriage record for Virgil Zennia Vaughan, Hillary Lillian Vaughan’s older brother. He was married by the same Baptist minister.)
(Most photos don’t affect me, but in these three children: Harold Milton Vaughan; Hillary Lillian Vaughan; and Virgil Zennia Vaughan, I see no happiness, although many people, including children, had stiff expressions when photographed. Ottumwa, IA, ca. 1918.)
(Hillary Lillian Vaughan, ca. 1926. Two years later she was a wife and the next year a mother.)
Hillary Lillian Vaughan 20 May 1913–4 Feb 1989 married on 3 Oct 1928 in Henry Co., IA Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff. Because Hillary was 15, her mother Nora Ann (McMillen) (Vaughan) Messer gave consent to the marriage. The couple had 10 children, of whom 9 reached adulthood.
Marriage laws vary from state to state so you have to look at the marriage statute in each state. Under current Iowa law, the marriage of Hillary and Jesse would be illegal, even with parental consent:
Below: Iowa State Board Of Health marriage record. Lines 1 and 2 read: “By whom affidavit, if any, is made Mrs. Nora Messer/By whom consent to marriage is given Mother of Bride only living parent.” My grandfather gave his aunt Emma Jane Huffman and John H. Scarff as his parents because he had been legally adopted, much to the dismay of his actual father, Earnest Ervin Jeffery. When Effie died, Earnie couldn’t work and take care of a young child, so Jesse was placed with the childless Emma. I think Emma spoiled him.
Above: One Sunday after church, ca. 1941, Mt. Pleasant, IA. If you see 6 children in this photo, you’re wrong. Standing next to my grandfather Jesse is my grandmother Hillary. The children in descending order of height are Valerie, (Jesse) Leroy, John, Noma, and Mary. Given Hillary’s age, what sort of courtship could she and Jesse have had? Hillary had just turned 15 on 20 May 1928. Less than 5 months later she was married. The marriage record lists both as residents of Rome. It’s obvious this was a shotgun marriage, but what arrangement existed between Jesse and Hillary’s mother Nora has passed away with them. Jesse evidently had an “Old Testament Patriarch” mentality, which unfortunately is still embraced by some men. It’s a narrative which dehumanizes women and children. I can’t see this as anything but the sexual exploitation of a young girl. Situations like this scandalized reformers who pressed for 16 as the minimum age to marry with parental consent.
(Abandoned building, Rome, Henry Co., IA. In 1930 Rome had 144 residents.)
[State of Wyoming Death Certificate of Hillary Lillian (Vaughan) Scarff. Click on image to enlarge.]
[Jesse Otto (Jeffery) Scarff, ca. 1909. Children put on their “Sunday Go To Church” clothes for portraits. In ordinary attire, they looked pretty grubby. It was the era in which children amused themselves by catching frogs and turtles, digging holes, and splashing in creeks. It’s called the Outdoors.]
(Another useful State census: detail from the 1925 Henry Co., IA Tippecanoe Township schedule. In this instance, the names of the individual’s parents are given, very helpful in merged households. Jesse Scarff’s parents are
Ernest I. Jeffrey and Effie V. Huffman. Click on image to enlarge.)
[State of Wyoming Death Certificate for Jesse Otto (Jeffery) Scarff. His father’s name was Earnest Ervin Jeffery, not Ernst Jeffery Scarff. Click on image to enlarge.]
(My grandfather’s obituary from the “Mt. Pleasant News” of 13 Mar 1990. “I.A.A.P.” is the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant. Trenton is actually in Henry Co., IA. Jeffery D. Scarff was adopted; I know nothing of his birth family. My parents were living in Springfield, MO when Jesse died. My mother was a member of Rachel Donelson Chapter DAR. At the time I was working for AT&T in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.)
1. Valerie Berniece Scarff born 28 Sep 1929; married 20 Jun 1948 Ralph Vernon Chipman, died 18 Sep 2016
(“Mt. Pleasant News”, 21 Jun 1948.)
a. Jeffrey Thomas Chipman born 25 July 1951
(“The News, Mt. Pleasant, Ia.,” for Thursday, 26 Jul 1951, p. 3.)
b. Diane Gay Chipman born 29 Sep 1952; married Glen Christopher Joyce (two children: dau. Cameron Brooke Joyce; son Marc Christopher Joyce)
c. Debora Ann Chipman born 8 Oct 1953; married Arthur David Allred (two children: dau. Nora Elizabeth Allred; son Wesley David Allred)
(Dispatch-Argus QCOnline for 10 Oct 2008.)
d. Mary Beth Chipman born 27 Jan 1958; married Randall Alan Roguski; div. (one child: dau. Olivia Ann Roguski aka “Olivia Zapo”)
[Photo made at wedding of my sister Mary Beth Chipman to Randall Alan Roguski. Left to Right: Jeffrey Thomas Chipman (Me), Diane Gay (Chipman) Joyce, Valerie Berniece (Jeffery Scarff) Chipman, Randall Alan Roguski, Mary Beth Chipman, Ralph Vernon Chipman, Debora Ann (Chipman) Allred, Arthur David Allred. Mary Beth, being a modern woman, did not take her husband’s name. She and Randy divorced.]
2. Jesse LeRoy Scarff born 27 Jan 1933; married Leona Witrofsky; div.
(“The News, Mt. Pleasant, Ia.”, for Monday, 19 Nov 1951. At less than 5 months of age, I was a bon vivant. I hope LeRoy got stuffed.)
a. James Dean Scarff
b. Lorna Scarff
c. Christopher Scarff
3. John Eric Scarff born 28 Jan 1936; married Marilyn Kay DalAve
a. Susan R. Scarff born 28 Aug 1962
b. Christopher E. Scarff born 2 Dec 1964
c. Ronald D. Scarff born 11 Oct 1969
4. Noma Louise Scarff born 9 Sep 1937; married (i) Tom Fisher adopted bro. of Franklin Louis Fisher, div. (ii) Edward Colewell Talbott born 16 Jun 1943
No children of either marriage
5. Mary Margaret Scarff born 7 Jul 1939; married George Presley Watson
a. John Eric Watson
b. Andrew Clark Watson
c. Jessica Lynn Watson
6. Linda Kay Scarff born 7 Jan 1943; married Franklin Louis Fisher
a. Frank William Fisher
b. Christopher John Fisher born 18 Jan 1968, died 19 Apr 2006
c. Rebekah Lynn Fisher
d. Jonathan Conrad Fisher
7. Diane Lu Scarff born 26 Aug 1944; married (i) Emmett Ridinger (ii) Jack Peters
Children by (i):
a. Michael Ridinger
No children by (ii)
b. a daughter adopted by Judith Ellen (Scarff) Septer *
8. Judith Ellen Scarff born 19 Oct 1946; married 24 Jul 1966 Ronald Eugene Septer, died 27 Aug 2014 at Mt. Pleasant, IA
a. Cynthia Lynn Septer born 12 Jun 1968
b. Kayleigh Septer (Kayleigh Septer earned a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University and is Treasurer of James Harlan Chapter DAR.)
c. David Eugene Septer born 1 Jun 1972
d. an adopted daughter *
9. Michael Gene Scarff born 20 Jan 1949; married Barbara Esther Johnson
10. Cynthia Lynn Scarff born 21 Apr 1957, died 22 Apr 1957; buried Forest Home Cemetery, Mt. Pleasant, IA
[* I am withholding the name and birth date of this individual. The source of this information was Valerie Berniece (Jeffery Scarff) Chipman. This individual shares her mother’s pedigree, as will her descendants. This is a mtDNA (female descent) line, so it’s unnecessary to perform a paternity test. mtDNA is passed from the mother to her children, whether male or female; however, if her child is male, he can’t pass mtDNA to his children. Therefore, mtDNA will pass from mother to daughter as long as the chain of women is unbroken by males in the direct line of descent.]
This is a complete list of the children and grandchildren of Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff and his wife Hillary Lillian Vaughan. And that brings us full circle.