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Scoundrel: an unprincipled, dishonorable person

For many years I’ve known my maternal great-great grandfather left his wife and children and started a family with another woman. He’s not the only ancestor to do so. This is the first in a series of articles chronicling the exploits of a few of my rascally relatives.

A Scoundrel and His Babe

Robert Henry Gulledge (1836-1920) married Winefred Elizabeth Jackson in 1861. Between 1864 and 1873 they produced eight children. According to family stories, they owned a plantation in Alabama. The 1880 Federal Census shows he still lived with Winnie and their children in Rockford, Coosa, Alabama. However, by 1885 he had fathered four children with America Lavonia Reeves Tuck, affectionately known as Babe, who was a widow. Again, the family legend is Babe was the housekeeper for Robert and Winnie. Between February 1885 and April 1887 Robert and Babe moved to Madison County, Arkansas and had two more children.

Babe Gulledge / Robert Henry Gulledge - Patrick Cemetery, Patrick, Madison, Arkansas

Babe Gulledge / Robert Henry Gulledge - Patrick Cemetery, Patrick, Madison, Arkansas

To date, I’ve found no evidence of a divorce between Robert and Winefred as well as no records of a marriage between Robert and Babe. He and Babe lived long enough for common law marriage to be in effect, however, Winnie lived until at least 1920 – the year Robert died.

Robert and Babe are buried next to each other in the Patrick Cemetery, Patrick, Madison, Arkansas. The headstone identifies Babe as a Gulledge.

Does the fact that he left one family to start a new one make him a bad person. We don’t know what made him leave one life to begin anew; the circumstances are probably lost forever. For me personally, if he hadn’t left Winnie and started a family with Babe I wouldn’t be here, for I’m descended from his second family.