So close, but yet sooooo far! Irene is probably the ancestor whose accumulated stories intrigue me the most. When I was much younger, a "much older" relative who was often known for his wonderful sense of humor and love of teasing "just a little" (...hmmm) told me that this grandmother of his was a half-blood Native American woman who had died in a tornado and her body had been found in the branches of a tree later on. He had her name wrong, he had any possible tribes wrong for where she came from yet he had sounded absolutely adamant about his information at the time. I believed him, I took notes and what he offered was all I had to go on for many years!
Over the years, collaborating with his grandaughter, we have located Irene's actual name and marriage records. Next we just wanted to connect her into her correct family group. At this point we have pretty much discounted the Native American link especially after learning how common it was for Indiana residents to try to establish Native connections in order to secure landrights, etc. I have also learned that the Garrard family were well known to include great storytellers (wink wink ;]) and teasers in their midst! We have had some terrific help from Carolyn and Bob Garrard who have been researching this family for over 30 years and are terrific resources.
Here is what we have patched together. If you can add to this information, please contact me!
Irene E. Garrard was born ~ January 1831 in Pleasant Township, Switzerland County, Indiana. She married Jackson Harman 15 April 1848, Pleasant Township, Switzerland County, Indiana. Using a process of elimination, it appears quite likely that Irene is the daughter of Jonathan Adams Gerard/Garrard and Nancy Brown who married January 10, 1826. We know Nancy died sometime between the time the census was taken in 1830 and November 2 of 1831 when Jonathan married Nancy's sister, Sarah A. Brown. If Nancy was pregnant when the census was taken, Irene would not have been counted. We suspect Nancy died giving birth to Irene either late in 1830 or in January of 1831 (Irene's birth is listed as January 1829 in the 1900 Census when she is living with her son Oliver which is the only time a specific month is mentioned).
Ellen Gerard/Garrard b. October 15, 1826 is known to be the daughter of Jonathan Adams Gerard and Nancy Brown. She does show up on the 1830 Census as a female child "under five years of age" living with this family (Ellen married William H. Imel in Pleasant Township, Switzerland County, Indiana on 22 September 1846 - see their chart via this link). Carolyn and Bob Gerard have information suggesting Ellen was raised by her maternal grandparents, Johnson Brown and Mary Cotton (click on the names to see the charts for these families). The 1840 Census does list a female child "10 and under 15" living with the Browns. Information on the Brown family shows that Mary Cotton Brown died October 12, 1823 and there were no children born to this couple after 1816. Johnson then married Keziak McCleland in 1824. They had two male children. Thus, it "fits" that the female child "10 and under 15" shown living with them in 1840 is Ellen Gerard/Garrard.
Again, by a process of elimination, I have pretty much concluded that our Irene must be the female child listed as "10 and under 15" living with Jonathan and Sarah Gerrard in the 1840 Census. Their first child, Susan was not born until 1832 which would make her the female shown as "5 and under 10" living with her parents; their second child, Margaret J. is the female shown as "under 5" on the same record!