Our Search for James Madison Price

Last Updated March 17, 2003

If you are researching this same line, please E-mail john@jpricefamily.org with any information or questions.

We have found James Madison Price in every available census taken during his lifetime, except for 1890, which is not available for Fayette County, PA.

1850 Census
Georges Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
Jane Osborn, age 60, widow, b. PA
Elizabeth Price, age 34, widow, b. PA
James Price, age 12, b. PA, not attending school
Sarah E. Price, age 8, b. PA, not attending school
Mary J. Price, age 5 b. PA, not attending school
Thomas Price, age 1, b. PA, not attending school.

1860 Census
Georges Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
Elizabeth Price, age 41, widow, b. PA
James M. Price, age 20, blacksmith, b. VA
Sarah E. Price, age 17, b. VA, attending school
Mary J. Price, age 14, b. PA, attending school
Thomas P. Price, age 11, b. PA, attending school

1870 Census
South Union Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
James Pryce, Age 27, Works in Blacksmith Shop, b. VA. Can't read nor write
Rachel E. Pryce, Age 24, Keeps home, b. PA, Can read but can't write
Sophia A. Pryce, age 8, b. PA, attending school
John Pryce, age 4, b. PA
Alfred Pryce, age 6 months, b. PA

1880 Census
Georges Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
Mat Price, age 36, Blacksmith, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Mary Price, age 25, Wife, Housekeeper, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Sofiah Price, age 18, Dau, Housekeeper, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
John Price, age 14, Son, Laborer, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Alfred Price, age 11, Son, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Charley Price, age 11 months, born in July, Son, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Emma Kissinger, age 21, Servant, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA

1900 Census
South Union Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
J. M. Price, born 1841, age 59, married 23 years, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, Blacksmith, Can read and write, Own home free of mortgage
Mary E. Price, Wife, born Aug 1854, age 45, married 23 years, birth to 4, 3 still living, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, Can read and write
Charles B. Price, Son, born Jul 1879, age 20, Single, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, musician at theatre, Can read and write
David C. Price, Son, born Feb 1882, age 18, Single, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, day labor (coke), Can read and write

1910 Census
Oliphant-Hopwood Road, South Union Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
James M. Price, age 68, 2nd marr, married 31 years, b. PA, father b. VA, mother b. PA, Blacksmith for the coal co., Can read and write, Own home free of mortgage
Mary E. Price, Wife, age 55, 1st marr., married 31 years, birth to 3, 2 still living, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, Can read and write
Charles B. Price, Son, age 30, single, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, musician at the theatre, Can read and write
Sarah Williams, M-in-law, age 77, widow, birth to 1, still living, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, Can read and write

1920 Census
Brownfield Plant H. C. Frick Coke Co., South Union Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
James Madison Price, Own home free of mortgage, age 79, cannot read nor write, b. WV, father b. WV, mother b. WV,
Mary E. Price, age 65, can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA,

Obituary and Death Certificate
We have also received a copy of James Madison's obituary from a great-granddaughter, Margaret Gagliardi, who posted it on the Internet. It is as follows:


Morning Herald, 9 Nov 1925
James Madison Price, aged 84 years, died at his home in Brownfield,
Saturday evening, November 7, 1925, at 5:30 o'clock from infirmities
incident to age. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary Ellen Williams
Price, four sons, Alfred and Charles B. both of Brownfield, John of
Philadelphia, and David, of Indianola, Pa., one step-daughter: Dora
McCay, 17 grandchildren, and 16 great greatgrandchildren. Two
daughters, Sofia and Margaret, are deceased. Mr. Price was one of the
oldest Odd Fellows in Western Pennsylvania, being a member of Pine Knob
lodge. Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock at
the Brownfield church followed by burial in the Hopwood cemetery.

We received James Madison Price's death certificate in December 2002, which gives very little added information beyond
the obituary. The informant was his son, Charles B., who indicated that his place of birth was Pennsylvania and he didn't know James' parent's names.

Name Variations
In the 1870 Census the census taker spelled the last name Pryce.

In the 1880 Census he is listed as Mat Price. We know that James went by his middle name at least some times, and the census taker probably thought he heard "Mat" when he really heard "Mad".

The cemetery record for Hopwood Cemetery has him listed as Madison J. Price.

Date of birth
Based on the following, we get the approximate year of his birth:
1850 Census - 1837 or 1838
1860 Census - 1839 or 1840
1870 Census - 1842 or 1843
1880 Census - 1843 or 1844
1900 Census - 1841
1910 Census - 1841 or 1842
1920 Census - 1840 or 1841
Death Certificate - 1840 or 1841

There is quite a range in possible birth years. In 1850 maybe he wished he were older than he really was. In 1880,
perhaps just the opposite because he had a much younger wife. On his death certificate, perhaps Charles could only
guess at his age. In the 1900 Census, no month is listed for his birth, but the year is specified as 1841. Apparently he didn't know his birthday.

It is clear throughout the censuses listed above that ages were only approximate. One may be led to conclude that it may not be the same individual on several censuses because of the age discrepancies, but there are too many other things in common to consider it could be another individual. It seems that either census takers were not careful, and maybe even guessed at ages, or the individuals either didn't know their real age or were in the habit of wanting to be older or younger than they really were.

Wives:
Rachel E.: In 1870 James was married to Rachel E., who probably gave birth to Sophia, John and Alfred. Margaret Gagliardi says that according to her mother, Sophia, daughter of John, and granddaughter of James, her grandparents, James Madison Price and his first wife, who was her real grandmother, resided in Oliphant (in Georges Twp), Fayette Co, PA. Her grandmother died before she was born. Many years later her grandfather remarried. According to this, James' first wife was the mother of John.

Mary Ellen Williams: In 1880 James was married to Mary, who probably gave birth to Charles, who was 11 months old at the time of the census. When James died he was married to Mary Ellen Williams. According to Margaret Gagliardi, Mary Ellen was living with her Son Charles B. in Illinois at the time of Charles' death in 1933. We found that a Mary E. Price, who died in 1935, was also buried in the Hopwood Cemetery, where James Madison is buried. Our conclusion at this point is that Mary of the 1880 Census is the same Mary Ellen married to James when he died.

On 11Mar2003 we found a 1900 Census listing for Dora McCay, named in the obituary as James' stepdaughter. In the same household is Sarah Williams, the mother of Mary Ellen Williams. We next looked up the 1880 Census listing for Mary Ellen's parents, David C. and Sarah Williams, finding them in South Union Twp, Fayette County, PA. Besides his wife, Sarah A., there is a daughter, Mary E. Williams, and granddaughter Dora Williams.

We learn later in two censuses (1900 and 1910) that Sarah had only one child. Therefore, the grandchild must be Mary's child. Sarah is living with Dora's family in 1900, where she is listed as the mother-in-law of Dora's husband. In 1910 she is living with James and Mary Price, where she is also listed as the mother-in-law. We conclude that in 1900 she should have been listed as the grandmother-in-law. It is unclear why Mary E. is listed with both her parents and with James in the 1880 Census.

1880 Census
South Union Twp, Fayette, PA:
David C. Williams, age 32, Laborer, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Sarah A. WIlliams, age 47, wife, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Mary E. Williams, age 25, Dau, married, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Aaron Cowell, age 17, raised, single, attending school, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Dora Williams, age 7, grandchild, single, Attending school, Can read and write, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA

1900 Census
South Union Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
Mahlan McCay, born Apr 1871, age 29, married 8 years, b. PA, father b. VA, mother b. PA, Machinist, working, can read and write
Dora McCay, wife, born Nov 1872, age 27, married 8 years, birth to 6, 5 still living, b. PA, father b. VA, mother b. PA, can read and write
Maud McCay, Dau, born Nov 1892, age 7, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, attending school, can read and write
David McCay, Son, born Sep 1894, age 5, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA,
Joseph McCay, Son, born Feb 1896, age 4, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA,
Leonard McCay, Son, born Sep 1898, age 1, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA,
Janette McCay, Dau, born Jan 1900, age 4 mos, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA,
Sarah Williams, M-in-law, born Jul 1832, age 67, Widow, birth to 1, still living, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, can read and write
Mamie McCay, sister, born Oct 1884, age 15, single, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, can read and write


Other wives: Margaret Gagliardi indicated that she has reason to think that James Madison Price had three or four wives, with names: Mary, Susan, Mary Ellen Williams, and Rachel Mary. At this point in our research we haven't found any other indication that there were more than two wives. Jill noticed on the 1910 Census that the enumerator had recorded not only the marital status (as in M and S), but for those married the number of times they had been married. For James Madison Price the entry is M2, and for Mary Ellen it is M1. John found a reference to the number of times married on 12Mar2003 for a 1910 census record with the comment "number following M indicates number of times married" indicating that it was a universal practice for the 1910 Census to include this.

It's interesting that on the marriage and death certificates of John B. Price, James Madison's oldest son, his mother was not listed.

Was Rachel McFadden James' wife Rachel E.?
Jill noticed in the 1870 Census that next door to James and Rachel Price was a McFadden family whose parents are John and Sophia. Since these are the names of the first two children of James and Rachel, one might conjecture that these are Rachel's parents. We find a Rachel in the John and Sophia McFadden family in the 1860 Census, which gives considerable credibility to Jill's conjecture. In the 1880 and 1900 censuses we find Sophia McFadden living with her daughter Hannah and Hannah's husband, Rice Hopwood. The 1900 Census indicates that Sophia had given birth to one child, which was living at the time. This has a tendency to throw out Jill's conjecture, since it appears that Sophia McFadden had at least six children, from the 1860 and 1870 censuses. If some of these were step children, then it would appear that the first five would be in that category, and then she wouldn't be Rachel's mother; so why would Rachel name her first daughter after her? A logical explanation in John's mind is that the information in the 1900 Census was not correct. Sophia was 80 years old and may not have been communicating with the census taker very clearly. However, before it's conclusive that Rachel McFadden is James' Rachel, or that she's not, more sources will have to be discovered.

1860 Census
North Union Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
John McFadden, age 39, moulder by occupation, b. PA
Sophia McFadden, age 38, b. PA
Jesse McFadden, age 20, day labor by occupation, b. PA
Rachel McFadden, age 17, b. PA
Hannah F. McFadden, age 14, b. PA
Mary E. McFadden, age 10, b. PA
William McFadden, age 6, b. PA

1870 Census
South Union Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
Next door to James and Rachel Pryce:
John McFadden, age 51, Farm labor (?) by occupation, b. PA
Sophia McFadden, age 50, Keeping home, b. PA
William McFadden, age 18, Com labor by occupation, b. PA
Sophia McFadden, age 9, at home, b. PA

1880 Census
South Union Twp, Fayette, PA:
Rice G. Hopwood, age 32, Farmer, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Hanna Hopwood, wife, age 29, Keeping house, b. WV, father b. PA, mother b. PA
John L. Hopwood, Son, age 12, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. WV
William Hopwood, Son, age 6, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. WV
John McFadden, F-in-law, age 62, Laborer, b. PA, father b. Ireland, mother b. Ireland
Sophia McFadden, wife, age 60, Keeping house, b. PA, father b. MD, mother b. WV
Sophia A. McFadden, Dau, age 18, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA
Jesse Clelland, GSon, single, age 21, b. P, mother b. PA
Hannah Clelland, GDau, age 16, b. PA, father b. WV, mother b. PA
Louisa McFadden, GDau, age 11, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA

1900 Census
Georges Twp, Fayette Co, PA:
Sophia McFadden, born Aug 1819, age 80, widow, birth to 1, still living, b. PA, father b. MD, mother b. PA, can read and write
Rice Hopwood, Son-in-law, born Feb 1850, age 50, married 28 years, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, farmer, can read and write
Hannah Hopwood, Dau, born Oct 1851, age 48, married 28 years, birth to 5, 2 still living, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, can read and write
William G. Hopwood, gSon, born Sep 1874, age 25, single, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, coal miner, can read and write
John L. Keanan, gSon, born Dec 1867, age 31, b. PA, father b. VA, mother b. PA, laborer, can read and write
William Barnes, gSon, born Nov 1887, age 12, b. PA, father b. PA, mother b. PA, attending school, can read and write

Place of birth:
The 1860 and 1870 Censuses indicates that James was born in Virginia. The 1850, 1880, 1900 and 1910 censuses and the death certificate say Pennsylvania. Margaret Gagliardi wrote that the death certificate of his son Charles says that James was born in West Virginia. The 1920 Census indicates he was born in West Virginia.

Fayette County is at the southwest extreme of Pennsylvania, close to West Virginia and also Virginia. Maybe all three states contended for that area in the mid 1800s. Evidence is that there were border disputes and changes in that area prior to James Madison Price's birth.

Literacy
The 1870 Census indicates that James Madison Price can neither read nor write. It's hard to imagine that condition in today's world, but it helps to explain why he may not have known his birthday, since it probably wasn't written down. In subsequent censuses we see that he can read and write, and it seems that Mary may have taught him or encouraged him in this learning. However, in the 1920 Census, the indication is that he again can neither read nor write. Either he lied about it in the intervening censuses, the census taker just made assumptions about it, or perhaps in 1920 his eyesight was bad and he couldn't read and didn't care to write. It may remain a mystery.


James' Children
We have (from other census records, family records, internet sources and from Meg Gagliardi) birth, marriage and death information for sons John, Alfred, Charles and David. We also have information about many of their descendants. However, we are searching for clues about the following children and any others he may have had.

Sophia Price, daughter of James. From the obituary, we learn she died before 1925. We haven't seen her since 1880 at age 18. Perhaps there is a marriage or death record somewhere.

Margaret Price, daughter of James. The only mention of her is in James' obituary as his deceased daughter.

Ralph Price, son of James and Mary Ellen. Meg Gagliardi lists him in her family record with no other information.

James' Parents and Siblings
From the 1850 and 1860 Censuses, we see James' mother, Elizabeth, is a widow with four children. Her youngest child, Thomas, was born about 1849. We can infer from this information that his father died between 1848 and 1850.

In 1850, Elizabeth is living with another widow, Jane Osborn, who is of an age to be her mother. Next door is another Osborn family. Perhaps Elizabeth's maiden name is Osborn. The Osborn family of Fayette County is prominent and mentioned in biographies and genealogies and histories of the 1800's. No relationship is yet proved.

In the 1870 census, an Elizabeth Price is living in Georges Township with her son Thomas and his young family. We assume at this point that this is James' brother Thomas.

In 1880, an Elizabeth Price of the appropriate age is living with Harrison and Mary Griffith and family in Pittsburgh. This is possibly James' sister, Mary. Just a thought at this point.

 

By John and Jill Price