I am so grateful to everyone who left a comment on my post about Mary Ann Sistler Ragan and the problem with her date of death and appearance in a census after her death.
I contacted the family and relayed all the suggestions made. They are going to contact the church cemetery to inquire about burial records and when the headstone was erected.
Our plan of attacking this problem will all depend on the information we get from the church.
I will keep you posted on this unusual, but certainly not unique problem.