1A-E: Sarah F Guthrie

Sarah F Guthrie 13 May 1860 AR – 18 July 1894 and Columbus Willburn
of Washington County, Arkansas, USA

Parents: John Guthrie 1821 AL or TN – 1889 AR and Nancy Mahala 1846 MO – 1878 AR
Birth: 13 May 1860
Birth Location: Washington County, Arkansas, USA
Marriage: 15 June 1885 to Columbus Wilburn in Washington County, Arkansas
Children: None Known
Death: 18 July 1894
Death Location: Presumably in Washington County, Arkansas
Burial Location: Plot N-C13-68, Fall Creek Cemetery, Strickler, Washington, Arkansas, USA (Photo)

Parents: Unidentified
Birth: Abt. 1845
Birth Location:
Marriage 1st: Mary Lorraine Plunkett aka Manica on 20 Oct 1872 in Conway, AR. (Ended: Death of Spouse)
Marriage 2nd: Mrs Melda Jane “MJ” (Malone) Fryer on 15 Aug 1875 in Conway, AR (Ended: Separated/Divorced?)
Marriage 3rd: 15 June 1885 to Sarah F Guthrie in Washington, AR
Children: None Known
Death: After 1885
Death Location: Unknown, possibly in Arkansas
Burial Location: Unknown, possibly in Arkansas

Sarah F Guthrie is listed as a single woman of 20 years of age in 1880 and living at home with her widowed father, John Guthrie, and her two youngest siblings, Joseph H, 7, and James, 2. Since she is not listed with the family in the 1860 census, it is probable that her mother was pregnant at the time of the census and that Sarah’s birth was in the second half of 1860 or early in 1861.

A search for marriages in Washington County, Arkansas resulted with a marriage between Sarah Guthrie and Columbus Wilburn on 15 Jun 1885. The marriage document lists her as 24 years of age (DOB abt 1861), which fits the right age bracket. Both she and Columbus were living in Strickler, Washington, Arkansas at the time of her marriage.

Columbus W Wilburn appears to have married twice previously. First, to 17 year old Mary Lorraine Plunkett (1855-1874), who was born in Conway AR to James and Esther Catherine (Bruce) Plunkett. A letter conveying her death on 7 Oct 1874 in Washington County, AR to her mother Esther Plunkett reportedly can be found at the National Archives. (Anyone have a Copy?).

The following year he married Melda Jane “MJ” Fryer on 15 August 1875 in Conway, AR. He was 30 years old at the time and M J Fryer was a 28 year old widow. She had two children by her first husband, Francis ‘Frank’ M Fryer, namely John W Fryer (1868) and William Fryer (1870). The 1880 census shows Melda, John and William living in the household of her mother, Mary Ann (Tapp) Malone in Union, Conway, Arkansas. Her marriage to Columbus Wilburn was short-lived. Their only child, Arthur L Wilburn was born “paralyzed” to some degree. He was literate, but never worked. Early on he lived with his grandparents, but later resided with Melda. Unknown if the difficulty of his birth or situation led to Columbus and Melda’s separation and presumed divorce. She labelled herself a widow in later census records, which was technically true as her first husband was deceased. She also resumed her use of the Fryer surname, which Arthur was occasionally listed under.

I have not verified any census records for Columbus Wilburn, but there is an 1881 Fort Smith Criminal Case file that charges a Columbus W Wilburn with larceny for stealing a cow. His marriage to Sarah F Guthrie occurred four years later in Strickler, Washington County, Arkansas on 15 June 1885. Columbus was 39 at the time, while Sarah was 24.

Note that several online trees have Sarah F Guthrie married to GW Davidson in Newton, AR on 20 Dec 1877 at a time when Sarah was still single and living at home with her parents. She is still with them during the 1880 census. That appears to be a misidentification error.

After noting that other family members are buried at the Fall Creek Cemetery in Strickler, Washington County, AR, a review of memorials listed at Find-a-Grave includes Sarah F Guthrie. Note that the site’s transcription erroneously lists her birth year as 1850 instead of 1860, which is shown on the photo of the actual gravestone. Sarah F. Willburn was 34 years old at her death. It is difficult to determine if the grave marker includes information on her husband’s death or burial as the top is very dark. He is not listed in the cemetery index on the site.

Wilburn Children: None Known
Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A – Female Guthrie
Autosomal DNA Project Participants – No Known Descedants