Mystery of Alexander and Mahala (Harrison) Eastlick’s “son” Edward

October 14, 2012

I’ve always wondered about the “Edward Souan” living in Alexander and Mahala (Harrison) Eastlick’s household in 1850. The middle name was unfamiliar and unreadable. I could never find a son Edward Eastlick after he appeared with Alexander and Mahala in the 1860 census, also in Bureau County, Illinois. I assumed he must have died young. The lack of other children in the household made me wonder if the Eastlicks were unable to bear children… perhaps Edward was adopted. Or just being raised in their household as was commonly done in those days. Alexander’s deeds from Columbia County, Oregon stated he had no heirs at his death in 1900.

Then yesterday while digging around for Eastlicks to add to my Civil War database, I came across an Edward F. Eastlick (also shown as Estlick) in the Minnesota military records on Ancestry. He enlisted in Hatch’s Independent Battalion Cavalry in September 1863 at age 20. Another document revealed that he deserted his unit in November, a couple months later.

Research on Hatch’s Independent Battalion Cavalry shed light on that organization, formed to address the violence with the Indians on the frontier at that time. One article explained the group was stranded at one point, near starvation, losing 250 horses and cattle before obtaining relief. Perhaps the hardships of the unit drove Edward to desert.

Previously unable to find Edward Eastlick in subsequent census indexes, I decided to take a look at Alexander and Mahala’s listing in 1870 in LeSueur County, Minnesota. Often spelling errors are made by census enumerators and you never know what you can decipher directly from the images. I discovered, next door to Alexander and Mahala Eastlick, an Edward Sovereign and his wife Henrietta and children Charles 4 and Mary 1. Could be a coincidence that there was an Edward right next door, but he was about the right age and born in Indiana, as given in earlier records for Edward Eastlick, including his enlistment record.

It was clinched when I found the same Sovereign family (Edward, Henrietta, Charles, Mary and additional children) living in Nehalem, Columbia, Oregon ten years later… same place as Alexander and Mahala!

Then I found Edward’s Find A Grave memorial, with a burial in Oregon and 1898 death. The spelling of his name was Soverign, as well as other family records for his son Charles. Unable to locate his widow Henrietta after that, I googled Henrietta Sovereign of Oregon and found a newspaper notice of her marriage to Hon. J. H. Nosler on 31 Dec 1899 in Eugene.

Next I’ll flesh out Edward and Henrietta’s children and possibly find a living descendant with some information. Was Edward born an Eastlick? Was he the son of a family member or neighbor? Was his name Sovereign (or Soverign) just misspelled in the 1850 census? Would a Sovereign descendant be willing to take a DNA test to see if he matches Eastlick DNA?

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