I am proud of a recent discovery that I made. Although I do not yet have sufficient proof that the discovery relates to a direct ancestor, if my theory about my 3rd-great-grandfather Joseph Tarkington's parentage (that he was the son of Joseph S. Tarkington and Amelia Owen/Owens/Owings) is correct, I have learned more about his ancestry.
On page 118 of Probate Genealogy of Williamson County, Tennessee (1799-1832) by Albert L. Johnson, Jr. (Franklin, TN: Genealogy Pubs, 2002), there is a reference to guardianship records, minute book 1, page 267. William Tarkington was appointed guardian for Amelia (Milly) Owens, the minor orphan daughter of Elijah and Nancy Owens. Isaac Tarkington and Benjamin Tarkington [William's sons] were sureties. Page 32 of Williamson County, Tennessee County Court Minutes, May 1806-April 1812 by Carol Wells (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2008) contains additional information: on 17 April 1807, William Tarkington was appointed guardian of Amelia Owings, minor orphan of Elijah Owings. Bond was $5000, and Isaac Tarkington and Benj. Tarkington were his security.
I decided to do more research on Amelia's family to try to find evidence that could help me prove my theory. When the Tennessee, Wills and Probate Records, 1779-2008 collection was added to Ancestry.com, I located the probate file for Elijah Owings. What a find that was!
In addition to Elijah's will and estate inventory, the file included documents pertaining to the sale of his land. In 1806, a portion of Elijah's land on the Big Harpeth River in Williamson County, Tennessee was sold to pay his debts. He had appointed his widow Nancy executrix of the will. Two of the parties named in an indenture dated 17 November 1806 were "Nancy Cox formerly Nancy Owings Executrix of the last will & testament of Elijah Owings deceased & James Cox husband to said Nancy."
Elijah Owings probate file. Tennessee County, District and Probate Courts. Williamson County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com. Tennessee, Wills and Probate Records, 1779-2008 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
The names Nancy Cox and James Cox were familiar to me. Nancy Cox, the wife of James Cox, was the daughter of William Tarkington. William Tarkington's will mentions his daughter Nancy Cox, his son-in-law James Cox, and their children Jesse and Caroline Cox.
Ancestry.com. Tennessee Divorce and Other Records, 1800-1965 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Tennessee. County records.
Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm
roll numbers 99 to 108, 115, 336 to 337, 428 to 431, 519, A-4098,
A-5278, B-1 to B-9, B-44 to B-127, B-314, B-441 to B-445, B-471 to
B-473, B-1607 to B-1613, and B-1781 to B-1789. Williamson County: Divorce Files, 1900-1950; Divorce, Probate, and
Other Records, 1800-1899; School Censuses, 1838-1918; Miscellaneous
Records (ex. Apprentice, Land Sales, Liquor Licenses, Slave Records);
Birth and Death Records, 1920-1939).
Nancy Owings was Nancy Tarkington! James Cox was her second husband. No wonder William Tarkington was Amelia Owens' guardian; he was her maternal grandfather. A guardian was probably appointed for her because her mother was selling some of her father's land.
If my theory is correct, I have identified the maiden name of Joseph Tarkington's maternal grandmother, and he had Tarkington ancestors on both sides of his family.