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About Permelia

"Now I’ll try to tell you a little about Permelia, which I knew first hand, since she lived with us while I was growing up.

Permelia Ann Payne Doyle Malcom was the daughter of John Payne Jr., who lived at Potomac, Illinois.  John Payne was a substantial land owner and apparently pretty hard-headed.  On one of his trips to New Orleans, a friend gave him a Butternut pin which he wore on his shirt.  This pin became a sign of the South but he continued to wear it after the Civil War started, even though by then he had three sons in the Union Army.  Someone challenged him and they fought a duel and he was killed.  Grandma Permelia always said he was “a mite too-hardheaded.”

Permelia's four older brothers got to know Abe Lincoln when he was a circuit riding lawyer and visited Potomac quite frequently.  Uncle “Wad”, who was the only one of the brothers I got to know, when he would come to see Grandma in later years, said Abe would come down to the local bar for a drink and a free bite to eat each morning.  He loved to visit with the townsfolk.

My Grandma was the head of a group of lady riders and later when Lincoln was running for President and visited Potomac, they rode out to meet his entourage.  So he took Grandma to the dance that night and wrote in her little Memory Book, “I hope you live to be 100.  You're a beautiful young lady.”  She showed me the little book often and each time said he was the homeliest man she ever saw, but was very nice and a good dancer.

Grandma married a man by the name of Doyle when she was seventeen and had two boys, Addison and Frank.  When the Civil War broke out, Mr. Doyle accepted a thousand dollars to take another man's place in the draft, which was legal then.  According to Grandma, he gave her five hundred dollars, went out and got drunk with the balance and went off to war  No one heard from him again so after the War, he was declared dead and Grandma went about the task of raising her two sons without a husband or a father.

After the War was over, Grandma's brother, Alonzo, who was a Major by that time, was put in charge of the Indian Reservation in Nebraska.  I do not know whether he was married or not, but anyhow, he sent for Grandma and her two sons to come out and live with him on the reservation and she was on her way.  In Omaha she met Grandpa Joe Malcom.  He followed her to the reservation and they were married there.

Grandpa Joe made the wedding ring out of a gold nugget he had brought back from California.  It was in the shape of a belt with a buckle.  Because it was pure gold, it was very soft so Grandma put it in a little leather pouch which she carried on a cord around her neck."

October 28, 2007

 

Hello Alice,  

 

 Was so happy to hear from you but I didn’t reply sooner as I needed to get some ducks in a row before I answered.  I want to tell you how much I admire your website and how much I appreciate the amount of hard work it was create it and the years of research that went before and is still ongoing.   Also, it is so much fun to read, personal and “newsy”.

I am going to answer your letter this way because I do not want to miss all I am thinking concerning all your comments.

 

 Hello, Marla!

 

It appears that we are third-cousins through our ancestors John PAYNE, Jr., and Virletta O'NEAL.  You descend from their daughter Permelia; I descend from their son William.  Third cousins we are indeed. 

 

At your web site, you describe Permelia as your maternal great-grandmother, which would make her parents your great-great grandparents.  Also for me, John Jr. and Virletta would be great-great grandparents.

 

Permelia would be a great-great aunt to me, since she was the sister of my great-grandfather William O. Payne.

 

As you likely know, I also descend from Permelia's first husband, Tom Doyle/Frank Reed.  I descend from Tom/Frank's 2nd wife, whom he married after he and Permelia parted.  So far as I know, there NEVER was a divorce between Tom/Frank and Permelia, which would make Tom/Frank's three subsequent marriages void ab initio.  However, valid divorce or not, Tom/Frank went on to marry three more times in Vermilion Co., IL, after he and Permelia parted.  We too, have never found any divorce records but being separated for so long from him and maybe for her own purposes, she just decided to declare herself “deserted” and him “dead”.  We do know that Permelia had contact, after her marriage to Joseph, with at least three of her relatives- Alonzo Payne, Wad Payne and her half brother James Buchanan Payne.  Alonzo, called “Uncle Lon” by my grandfather in his writings, was in close contact with Joe and Permelia from the beginning when they first met.  He was either complicit, or sympathetic with his sister’s plight.  He may have even been empowered to perform a civil marriage in his capacity of Indian Agent.   I am figuring that out in the Nebraska and Dakota Territories, record keeping was not a priority as I am finding it difficult to find timely and accurate records on other family matters.   I would be willing to bet that when Tom/Frank was married, they may have not inquired as to his past marital status and he may have told any who did inquire that she was also “dead” or "disappeared".   We have an 1870 census record where Addison is written down as “David”, age 6 and Permelia is listed as “Amelia” age 24.  This is pretty far off the mark to be called spelling or clerical errors so my cousins and I speculate that Joseph and Permelia may have been trying to hide. 

 

 And, to really "weird up" the situation, Permelia & William's brother Wad became the step-father of my grandmother when he married William's widow -- two days after Wad divorced his wife., you have a lengthy quote from Donald Humphreys Malcolm. Here's the part that interests me:

 

 My Uncle Don followed in the line of great Malcom Story Tellers and he heard this story form Permelia when he was very young and wrote it down when he was old.  He grew up with Grandma Permelia living in the house and she died when he was 21.   None of the Malcoms were very good at remembering accurate dates nor did they record dates.  The “story” was the thing.  However, many of their stories have been proven to be actually based in fact. 

As you know, that can be nothing more than the story that Permelia told.  The proof is the marriage record for Tom/Frank and Permelia: May 17, 1864, in Vermilion County, Ilinois.  Another proof is that Addison and Frank were born in 1865 and 1866.  Also, Tom/Frank remained right there in Vermilion Co. and was known to Permelia's family, so completely known that a son from Tom/Frank's 2nd marriage married a daughter of Permelia's brother William -- who was by the time of the marriage a step-daugher of Permelia's brother Wad.  Your record of their marriage is in agreement with our records.  However, we have substantial proof that Addison was born before they were married in January of 1864.  I am guessing that the fact she was pregnant and unmarried, quite a shameful scandal for the Payne family who were prominent in community and business affairs of Vermilion County.   I am guessing that the two were forced into a marriage that maybe neither of them wanted.   Since the war did not end until April 9, 1865, isn’t it possible that Tom/Frank decided to run away to the army or disappear for a while?  Maybe this is what he told Permelia when he left.  He could have then returned in time to then impregnate Permelia with her second child, Frank.   Frank’s death certificate says he was born August 27, 1865.  That would mean that he is born 1 year and 7 months after Ad.   However, we have a 1870 census record of the family taken on July 13th in Knox Township in Pottawattamie County Iowa that states that Frank is 3 years old putting him born in 1866. After Frank’ birth,  perhaps it was then that Permelia took her two children  and fled to her older brother’s protection and care out on the Nebraska plains. 

I know that this is a lot of conjecture on my part, but you have to admit that it is in the realm of possibility.  Also, Uncle Don’s story is not too far amiss from how you yourself portray Tom/Frank’s character. 

In other words, IF that is the story that Permelia to her children and grandchildren, her story is inconsistent with facts that can be proven easily.

I worked so very hard to clear up the stories and lies about Tom Doyle/Frank Reed that I would hate to see new stories be spun about him.  There is NO indication that Permelia even knew Tom/Frank before he served in the Civil War.   If this is so, then you must understand how one of my goals is to clear the name of my Great Grandmother. Not to make her perfect but at least a person who had admiral qualities.  As I grew up, my  parents, uncles, aunts and cousins and community friends always spoke of their admiration and love for Permelia. A few are still alive today. In all the stories I heard she was said to be loving, hardworking and spirited.   I will recount here one of the stories my mother, Maybelle Warren Malcom Miller, often told us about the birth of “Uncle Ad” as we all called him.   She said that Ad was born very prematurely, a baby that could fit in the hand of a man.  He was so small everyone doubted that he would live.  They kept him in a small box lined with cotton, which was changed frequently and kept the box surrounded with hot water bottles to keep him warm.  (Can you imagine how many days and long hours it took to maintain this procedure?)  All the family marveled as to how such a tiny baby could have grown into such a tall man.  (About  6’3”, as I remember him.) 

Whether there ever was any legal or ceremonial wedding between Permelia and Joseph Malcom, I am unable to say.  Despite searching, I never found any marriage record for them.  And, despite searching, I never found any divorce record for Permelia and Tom/Frank.   We, too, have not found the record of this marriage but have little doubt that it happened.

About ten years ago, I was in contact with a woman named Kathleen Doyle Almelion, born 1947. Kathleen Doyle, and married James Almelion.  She was a school teacher.  She descended from Permelia and Tom/Frank's son Addison, b. 1865, Vermilion Co., Illinois; from Addison's son William, b. 1887, Woodbury, Co., Iowa; from William's son Keith, b. 1921.  Keith was her father, and he was a veterinarian.  At the time, Kathleen lived in Washington, Iowa; at 921 E. Main Street.  Her phone then was 319-653-7547.  Her husband's name was/is James Edward Almelion, b. 1945. ... They had a son Andrew, b. 1977, and a daughter Erin, b. 1981.

Kathleen is herself an extraordinary researcher, and it was because of her that I was able to piece Tom/Frank's story together.  And, it was she who sent to me the copy of Permelia's photograph that I have on this web page: http://www.alicemariebeard.com/genealogy/maternal/permelia.htm  It's the same photo of Permelia that you have at your web site!

Kathleen reported that she had searched all reasonable sources and had found no record of any legal marriage ceremony between Permelia and Joseph, and no record of any marriage license, and no record of any divorce between Permelia and Tom/Frank.  I had searched many of those same sources, and I also found no record.  We too, have been in contact with Kathleen but her records of Permelia and Joseph were even more sketchy and incomplete than ours. 

However, even without a divorce, Tom/Frank went on to marry right in Vermilion Co., Illinois, three more times.  In my mind, Tom/ Frank was probably a bit of a scoundrel but a charming one.   He certainly was able to persuade several ladies into marriage. 

I grew up hearing the stories of my grandfather, son of Tom/Frank from his 2nd marriage.  My grandfather said his father had wondered about his first two sons (Addison & Frank) for the rest of his life.  It's a story my grandfather would have remembered, probably with pain -- on the order of, "Well, Dad, I'm here.  I'm your son also.  Why don't you try to be a father to me, and stop remembering those other two?"

And, Alonzo Payne definitely knew that Tom/Frank was alive in Vermilion Co., Illinois, as did Permelia and Alonzo's brothers William and Abel Wad!  William and his 2nd wife (Elizabeth Oliver) were friends of Tom/Frank and his 2nd wife, Lucy Peterson.  When Tom/Frank's 2nd wife died in 1883, William and his wife donated a plot for her burial.

It is most unlikely that Permelia ever knew about Tom/Frank's secret identity.  The irony is that it appears that both of them lived out their lives with some major falsehoods.

I would be interested in exchanging more information and any photos you may have of Permelia's Payne relatives.  Also, your letter spurred me on to complete the Payne portion of my website.  My husband and I were in Danville this past summer and picked up a lot of bits and pieces of information.  Please take a look at my website under "Payne" and see what I have added to it on the page entitled Songer Cemetery.  I still have a ways to go.  I am also anxious to complete the Malcom Page of my website but I figure it will take me into next year for sure, as I have tons of information about them.  (If only my regular life would not keep interfering.)   As I complete a page, I email my sisters and cousins as to “what's up”.  If you would like me to add you to this list concerning Permelia and Joseph, I would be glad to do so.   Did you look at my page for James Buchanan Payne?  I am especially proud how that one turned out with memories written by my Uncles, Donald and Vincent; 

One last request.  Do you have any idea as to how I can find information about Alonzo Payne and his records as an Indian Agent?  

 

  I have tried several leads but have found no records of that sort and I don’t know where to turn next.  This story is so persistent in my family that I feel there must be some truth to it.   He did have a record of Provost Marshall and that experience could surely prepare and qualify him for the job of Indian agent either as a soldier or retired soldier/citizen. 

 

 Thanks so much

Your Payne cousin,  (Ditto)

 

 Alice Marie Beard

Marla Miller Hembree

After that I received a second email from Alice Marie.  Please read on. 

 Again her writing is in black and mine is red.

October 30. 2007

 

Marla,

 

Thank you for writing!  I admit that I almost deleted it because I did not recognize your email and feared that the attached file might be a virus.  Glad I opened it!

 

In the end, whether there ever was any "legal marriage" between Permelia and Joseph seems not relevant.  The reality is that, if truth had been known, it would not have taken much of a lawyer to have proved that the marriage between Permelia and Tom/Frank was void because it was a fraud perpetrated on the poor woman.  There is no indication that she EVER knew who the man was.  He simply created a complete lie about who he was and conned her into marriage.

 

It must have been horrible for her to be living with a man whose every action was calculated to hide who he was.  And I say that even though I descend from the man.

 

Worrying whether she and Joseph ever legally married is of no matter.  Tragically, whatever actions she had to take after her time with Tom/Frank were primarily the cause of Tom/Frank. ... And that man managed to successfully lie to all right until he died.  Except for the military offices in Washington, D.C., there is NO indication that anyone in Vermilion County ever knew that he was a deserter who was living his life out under a false name. .... BUT, I have some sympathy for him also.  He did honestly serve for nineteen months, and he endured some horrific battles.

 

Regarding wondering about the dates of birth of Permelia's first two children, my recollection is that those two boys have birth records in Vermilion County, IL.  Those births were recorded at the time they happened.  And, the marriage record for Permelia and Tom/Frank was also recorded in Vermilion Co., IL, at the time it happened.  The basic guideline in genealogical research is to go with the earliest record, to go with the record that was made closest to when the event happened.  Ages on census records are often wrong, and information at death is often wrong.

 

Regarding the military record of Alonzo Payne, here is all the information I have:

 

On Sep. 14, 1861, enlisted as private in Co. C, 5th IL Cavalry; served at Vicksburg. On Aug. 21, 1862, promoted to corporal.  On March 13, 1863, he was made a sergeant.  He re-enlisted Jan. 1, 1864.  On Sept. 1, 1864, he was appointed quarter master sergeant.  On Feb. 17, 1865, he was made a 1st sergeant.  On May 19, 1865, he was made a first lieutenant.  On Aug. 25, 1865, he was made Brigade Provost Marshall.  On Oct. 4, 1865, he was promoted to Captain of Co. D.  He mustered out Oct. 27, 1865.  He served at Vicksburg; Champion Hill; Yazoo City, Mississippi; and Grand Gulf.

 

I have never come across any record of Alonzo Payne having been an Indian Agent. 

 

Regarding the 1870 census where Permelia was recorded as "Amelia" and Addison was recorded as "David," I wouldn't see that as her trying to hide.  Census takers wrote down what they heard, and they didn't always hear correctly.  And, Permelia may at times have used the nickname "Amelia." 

 

You wrote,

 

However, we have substantial proof that Addison was born before they were married in January of 1864.  I am guessing that the fact she was pregnant and unmarried, quite a shameful scandal for the Payne family who were prominent in community and business affairs of Vermilion County.   I am guessing that the two were forced into a marriage that maybe neither of them wanted.   Since the war did not end until April 9, 1865, isn’t it possible that Tom/Frank decided to run away to the army or disappear for a while?  Maybe this is what he told Permelia when he left.  He could have then returned in time to then impregnate Permelia with her second child, Frank.   Frank’s death certificate says he was born August 27, 1865.  That would mean that he is born 1 year and 7 months after Ad.   However, we have a 1870 census record of the family taken on July 13th in Knox Township in Pottawattamie County Iowa that states that Frank is 3 years old putting him born in 1866. After Frank’ birth,  perhaps it was then that Permelia took her two children and fled to her older brother’s protection and care out on the Nebraska plains. 

 

There's a lot of conjecture and guessing in that.  I'll need to check my collection of old records, but -- as I wrote above -- my recollection is that Addison's birth was recorded in Vermilion County.  Tom/Frank did NOT stay with the Army until the end of the Civil War.  He absolutely deserted on Feb. 21, 1863

 

This may be a case of both Permelia and Tom/Frank telling their own "story" of how they separated.  My guess is that each was doing some story spinning.  And, my guess is that over the decades and the more than 140 years, the stories have changed, and mutated.  All I can do is go with the records and documents that were created at the time of the events.

 

I don't think there is anything about Permelia's life story that needs clearing or justifying.  I've no reason to think that she was anything other than a wonderful person.  From what I can tell, she was a young woman who became involved with and married to a man who was a liar.  She never figured out what his lie was, but she surely must have sensed that there was something major wrong, and his lies and deceptions must have made for a terrible marriage.

 

Alice   

Below are excerpts about the Paynes from the autobiography of Donald Humphreys Malcom (My mother's younger brother) and his version of the what he heard first hand from his grandmother Permelia about her marriages to Tom Doyle and Joseph Malcom and what he heard and personally experienced concerning her brothers.  Uncle Don wrote this autobiography in the years 1997-1998:  I have edited some names to match correct history but have not edited anything else.  Uncle Don may have not remembered some names and date details which is perfectly understandable considering his age when he wrote this and the time elapsed since he first heard the stories and experienced the actual encounters.  For instance, he remembers that Permelia rode to meet Abe with other young ladies when Abe was campaigning for President in Potomac.  We know that this event occurred in Danville in 1858 and that Abe was campaigning for the Senate against Stephen Douglas.  Don may have been confused because he visited Permelia's half brother, James Buchanan Payne, who lived in Potomac, with his grandmother when he was a young man.  Also, Don's imagination may have taken some flights of fancy when he heard these stories as a child while growing up.  However, there are enough grains of truth to give Permelia's story some plausibility added with the other facts that we know about the Paynes. 

My comments are in
orange and Don's narrative is in navy blue.   After this narrative is a friendly email exchange between Alice Marie Beard and myself.