In support of International Women's Day earlier this month, I had posted my tribute of my 3rd great grandmother Frances. She was born in Wisconsin to English immigrant parents, her father died in the 1849 California Gold Rush and her mom took her and her two siblings back to England. Frances however, sailed back to the U.S. five years later at age 17 to marry my 3rd great grandfather, someone who she was most likely familiar with since he lived in the same town she was born in Wisconsin. The story of Frances celebrates independence and the American dream all in one microcosm of a family. The post drew a comment from someone interested to learn more and when I went to provide the link of her biography information on WikiTree, I realized I hadn't updated it. This led me to updating not only her profile but those of her kids which brings me a long way around to the gist of this post, her son Robert James Chicken.
Robert James Chicken was actually born Robert James Baker due to his father changing his surname after the Civil War. I wrote more about this earlier HERE. In short, Robert went to live with his uncle Robert Chicken and adopted the surname Chicken back.
I have always assumed it was an informal adoption and it still may be, but in cleaning up Robert's family tree sources, I found a new source, his death record. It says at the top that Robert J. Chicken and that "He was adopted when small and took this name, the original name was Baker". Since this was Robert's son Otis dictating this information, one must place weight to it and perhaps he indeed was officially adopted. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter to me and it yet another link strengthening the Chicken - Baker surname swap.
The death certificate wasn't done with the surprises. Turns out he died of a probable heart attack but the additional information was enlightening. It went on to say he just dropped dead in the barn yard while choring. He was 64 years at the time and this probably wasn't all that unusual back then. But how many of us work now right up until the moment we check out. I'm guessing quite a bit fewer.