I am at my wits’ end trying to solve the mystery of who were the biological parents of William Tolvin Jennings (known as Tolvin). He was born August 5, 1866 in Macon Co., NC. Below is what I know:
On the 1870 and 1880 censuses, he is listed with the last name Ammons in the household of Mrs. Rhoda Ammons who was married to John Ammons at the time of Tolvin's birth. She had several children with her husband both before and after Tolvin's birth. From what little I have been able to find, John Ammons was her only marriage.
I have been told that the June 1992 issue of Macon Co. Echoes, page 3 lists the following marriage:
Wm. T. Ammons, 21 son of James Jennings and Rhoda Ammons of Jackson Co., m. Mary Keener, 17, by the Rev. J.G. Ammons.
Did Rhoda Ammons have another man's child while she continued to live with her husband? Could this be my ggg grandfather James Jackson Jennings, Sr.? James, Sr. had a son, James J. Jennings, Jr. who was 13 years old at the time Tolvin was born. Could there have been yet another James Jennings living in the area at that time? J. J. Jennings, Sr. was married to his 4th (and last) wife Sarah Henderson when Tolvin was born.
William T. AMMONS married Mary Ann Keener on Sept. 11, 1887. William T. JENNINGS and his wife Mary A. Jennings appeared on the 1900 census. Tolvin's obituary and grave headstone list his last name as JENNINGS. In the 1941 obituary for Sarah (Ammons) Price, daughter of Rhoda and John Ammons, her only surviving sibling was a half-brother named T.V. Jennings of the Otto community. Tolvin Jennings was living in Otto at the time of Sarah's death.
Unfortunately, Tolvin's own obituary does not mention the names of his parents nor the name of his surviving brother. His death certificate states that his parents were Mr. and Mrs. James Jennings. Someone has handwritten the name 'Rhoda'. I have found no evidence that she was ever "Mrs. Jennings".
None of the obituaries for James Jennings, Sr.’s children mention William Tolvin Jennings.
Can anyone help me to clarify the circumstances of Tolvin's birth? Was he illegitimate? Which James Jennings was his father? I would be very grateful for any help.