I love Googling when I have distinctive names or terms to use. Zera/Zura Lucerne Cotton should bring up something … I hoped.
The Puzzle Piece
It did. Boy, howdy, did it. The hit that I zeroed in on was a page of a blog entitled “Men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry: Biographies of the 1,411 Soldiers Who Served in the 3rd Michigan Infantry between the April of 1861 and June of 1864.”
The page, which was devoted to Zara Lucerne Cotton, had a lot of information on him, as did the comments on the post: they contained information on his Civil War service and a list of his six wives, at least some of whom he divorced. The last two wives were given as “a widow by the name of Eliza Ann Powell Monroe” (her married name was actually Moore) and Mary Jane Norman (actually Sarah Jane Norman), who was from Montgomery County (date of marriage 13 December 1903). The author of the post further stated: “His widow Mary Jane apparently remarried in 1907, but in 1916 she applied fore and received a pension (No. 836449; it appears that her second husband died).” One of the comments gave the last two wives’ names as Eliza Ann Powell and Jane Norman. And Eliza Ann Powell was one of the wives whom Zera Lucerne Cotton had divorced.
So one part of the mystery was solved. Zera Lucerne Cotton had married both of the women listed under the name Cotton in Peak Cemetery, having divorced Eliza before he married Jane. The writer of the comment gave Eliza Ann’s maiden name (Powell); both he and the author of the post gave Jane’s last name as Norman. So was Norman her married name or her maiden name?
I was starting to suspect that Norman was Jane’s maiden name. I went back to look at the entry for her in Findagrave, and was stunned to see a name there that I had somehow failed to see the first time: “Daughter of Louisiana Norman.”
Well, now. Not to jump to conclusions, but … Joseph Madison Carroll Norman had a sister named Louisiana. But if this was her daughter … this went too far into the realm of “either had an illegitimate child or married a man (cousin?) with the same last name” – just the same sort of thing I suspected in Jane’s case, and of course Dissie Norman had married Jane’s son Jack Norman. My head was starting to hurt.
It was time to try to track down Jane Norman’s maiden name. Was she a Norman or not? Only the 1880 census might tell.
Steve Soper, “Zara Lucerne Cotton – updated 2/28/09,” Steve Soper, “Men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry: Biographies of the 1,411 Soldiers Who Served in the 3rd Michigan Infantry between the April of 1861 and June of 1864," 10 May 2008 (http://thirdmichigan.blogspot.com/2008/05/zara-lucerne-cotton.html, and comment by Tom Cotton to the post: accessed 18 February 2010.
Since I am also referring to a comment to the post, it is necessary to mention it, but I am not certain whether to post a separate reference for the comment or put it in the same citation. Above it is shown in the same citation.