Sunday, April 20, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Week 16 - Eva Sabrina Porter...Daughter of French Nobility and Ex-Fiance of President James K. Polk???

This week for the 52 Ancestor's Challenge, I'm going to focus on my 3rd great grandmother, Eva Sabrina Porter.  Here is a perfect example of double checking your sources, and double checking your sources sources.

There is a book called The Holcombes, Nation Builders...Their Biographies, Genealogies, and Pedigrees, by Hannah Elizabeth Weir McPhereson, published in 1947.  It is a wonderful book with thousands of names and tons of stories about the genealogy of the Holcomb(e) family.  You can view a copy of it online, for free, at Familysearch.org.  Just put the title in the search box and you can download it to your computer.  Or, if you have an Ancestry.com subscription, you can view it there.  I find it easier to view on Ancestry.com.

My line of Holcombs are listed in the book.  My grandfather, Benton Rogers Holcomb and his wife Mamie Locke are mentioned in it (nothing more then their names).  Benton's father Thomas William Holcomb and his wife Jane Coburn are shown too, and listed with their children.  Then you come to Thomas' parents, William Alfred Holcomb and Eva Sabrina Porter.  This is where things get interesting!!  It states the following on page 350:

"This Porter family was of the French nobility, who escaped extermination by fleeing from France across the English Channel en route to N. America, bringing only such property as could hastily convert into money and jewels and carry on their persons."

"Eva Sabrina (Porter) Holcombe's parents knew they were marked to be beheaded as part of the nobility. This Porter family entered N. America through the port of New Orleans, La.; took boat up Mississippi River; then traveled inland. They bought and equipped a plantation on the old Post Road between Columbia and Nashville, Tenn. , -in Maury Co., Tenn., and there had as neighbors families named Payne, Pillar, Post.  The Polk families of Tenn. were their warm friends."

The story goes on to say the following about Eva:

"As a young lady Eva Sebrina Porter 'spent her summers on the home plantation and winters in Washington, D.C. where she entertained and was entertained in diplomatic circles and at the White House. She was engaged to marry President, James Knox Polk and led many grand marches at balls with him. They quarrelled and their former relations were not restored.'"

The quote from the book is in quotation marks which leads me to believe it was taken from one of the sources the writer corresponded to.  She lists the sources for William Alfred Holcomb and Eva Sabrina Porter as:
  • Family Records of Alfred and Sabrina Porter Holcomb
  • Their granddaughter, Nancy Sabrina Holcomb Carpenter (1869-1955). 
  • Mrs. R.H. (Lillie Cater) Creitzberg
  • T.K. Jones of Lubbock
  • Mrs. Arthur G. (Bob Holcombe Carter) Watson
  • Mrs. Oscar Waldo (Gaynell Martin) Williams
I recognize Nancy Sabrina Holcomb Carpenter, but not the other names.  Could these have been stories passed down??  A brief look into the life of Eva through records seems to contradict some of this.

What The Records State...

French Nobility??
First, lets deal with the issue of "French Nobility."  We know from probate records that Eva was not the daughter of James Porter, as the book suggested.  That may have been a guess on the part of the author.  A will dated May 6, 1841 for William Porter** of Maury County, TN, lists one of his daughters as Sabrina Holcomb.  Looking into his probate papers (which can be seen on Page 1852 on familysearch.org, TN Probate Court Files 1795-1927, Maury Co., Pigg, George W. - Reams, Joshua Henry), we can see an Alfred Holcomb purchasing several items from the sale of the estate.  This William Porter was the husband of Sabrina, or Sebra, Goodrum.  Sebra Goodrum Porter is living next door to Alfred and Sebrina Holcomb on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, in District 11, Maury County, TN.  I'm fairly certain that this William Porter is Eva's father.

Gravestone of William Porter found in Porter Family Cemetery, Maury County, TN
Photo found on Findagrave.com
 
But who is William Porter?  Was he the "French Nobility" they were speaking of??  He certainly owned a large plantation in Maury County at his death.  The story says her parents emigrated during the French Revolution, which would have been sometime around 1789.  According to his gravestone, he was born October 15, 1766, so he would have been about 23.  But his wife is said to have been Sebra Goodrum, daughter of Revolutionary War vet Thomas Goodrum.  She would have been born in South Carolina, so they couldn't have traveled together.

Only 3 of William Porter and Sebra Goodrum's 8 children lived until the 1880 Federal census, which is where, for the first time, people were asked about their parents birth.  Two of them list their father's birthplace as North Carolina, and the other lists it as South Carolina.  Many other individuals who have researched this line suggest William is the son of Hugh Porter from North Carolina, who died in Abbeville, South Carolina in 1808.  The will of Hugh Porter does name a son William.  However, there were several William Porters at this time, it's hard to say it is our William.

It's my belief, our Eva Sabrina Porter is not from parents of "French nobility" who escaped during the French Revolution.  I believe her parents were born in the United States.  However, there is a line of Porters who descend from Thomas Porter (1685-1767) of Manakin Town, Goochland County, VA.  He is listed on the "Registered Lineage list" as a "founder of the Huguenot colony at Manakin or Huguenots settling in early colonial Virginia."  This is found on the website for The Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia.

Thomas Porter himself was not a Huguenot, but was married to Elizabeth Dutoy (or Dutois), who is said to have been born to parents who were French Huguenots.  The book To be Useful to the World, Women in Revolutionary America 1740-1790, by Joan R. Gundersen, 2006, can be found on Google Books.  On page 18, it relays the story of how Elizabeth Dutoy's mother, Barbara de Bonnet Dutoy escaped France with her parents and sister:   

"...travels began as an infant when her parents hid Barbara and her sister in saddlebags to cross the French border.  One of the children was wounded when a soldier thrust a sword into the bags.  The de Bonnetts were among the 200,000 Huguenots who chose to leave France rather than convert to Catholicism after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  In 1700/01 the de Bonnetts joined an organized, publicly financed expedition of Huguenots who had received a grant of land in Virginia from the English Crown."

This is all speculation, but, could Eva's story originally been similar to the story above, about Barbara?  Maybe Eva's story that was told to Hannah Elizabeth Weir McPhereson was one that was altered through the generations?  It could have been about the Porter family, or maybe another relation to Eva.  This is something I'm currently researching, but as of now, don't have the answers.  Maybe in the future I'll have another post about this subject.  But until then, lets look at the other interesting comment about Eva.

Engaged To A Future President?
Did Eva really spend her winters in Washington DC?  Entertaining in the political circle?  Her father did have a large plantation in Maury County, TN, but I'm not sure how much he was involved with politics.  What would take him to D.C. anyway?  The Polk family did live in Maury County the same time as Eva's family.  I do find it possible that the Porters and the Polks could have been acquainted, however, I haven't seen any hard proof that they were family friends.

According to http://www.whitehouse.gov, James K. Polk married Sarah Childress on New Years Day, 1824.  That would have put Eva at a very young age.  According to my records, Eva was born March 1, 1815, however, 1850 federal census says she was born in 1812, and the 1860 federal census says she was born in 1814.  Either way, if we assume she was born in 1812 (the earliest date per our documents), then she would have been only 12 years old in 1824.  I know women back in the early 1800s married young, but to be entertaining people at the young age of 12, or younger...I find that a bit hard to believe.

It would be more plausible that one of Eva's older sisters was engaged to President Polk.  Or possibly a friend of the family.  But I do not believe that she was the one who was. 

Overall, I believe these are great stories that were probably altered in some form from generation to generation.  People could have been changed and dates could have been altered unknowingly, making the facts a little skewed.  Still, it was fun to read that we may be descendants of the French elite, even if it may not be true!

Timeline for Eva Sabrina Porter's Life
Here is just a brief timeline of the facts I have in my files on Eva Sabrina Porter.
  • 1815 - March 1 - born in Tennessee to William Porter and Sebra/Sebrina Goodrum (information provided to me by a family source).
    • She was the youngest of 8 children.  Her siblings were:
      • Delphia Porter Hall (1792-1859)
      • James R. Porter (1794-1857)
      • Elizabeth Porter Helms (1797-1880)
      • Nancy Porter Eddleman Turner (1798-after 1880)
      • William Wesley Porter (1800-1872)
      • Sarah Porter Bogard (1803-????)
      • John Nelson Porter (1810-1896)
  • 1831 - February 12 - Eva marries William Alfred Holcomb in Maury County, Tennessee.  William Alfred Holcomb is the son of Kinchen Holcomb and Nancy ?? (Tennessee State Marriages 1780-2002, found on Ancestry.com).
  • 1832 - June 27 - son John William Porter Holcomb was born in Tennessee (birth information on all of the children was provided to me by a family source).
  • 1834 - September 24 - son Nelson Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1835 - April 11 - son Nelson Holcomb died in Tennessee.
  • 1836 - October 27 - daughter Parolee S. Holcomb was born in Mississippi (birthplace according to 1850 Federal Census).
  • 1839 - October 18 - son James Alfred Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1840 - Family living in Maury County, Tennessee (1840 Federal Census), next to Eva's father and mother.
  • 1841 - May 26 - Eva Holcomb listed on the Last Will and Testament of William Porter.
  • 1842 - September 11 - daughter Nancy Evaline was born in Tennessee.
  • 1845 - April 14 - son Francis Newton Holcomb was born in Maury County, Tennessee.
  • 1846 - October 6 - son Thomas William Holcomb was born in Tennessee (my great, great grandfather).
  • 1850 - January 17 - Wesley Houston Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1850 - Family living in District 11, Maury County, Tennessee (1850 Federal Census), next to Eva's brother John, her mother Sebra, and her brother James' son James W. Porter.
  • 1851 - July 30 - Eva's mother Sebra Goodrum Porter died and was buried in Porter Family Cemetery near her husband.
  • 1852 - August 15 - daughter Roxyanna/Roxanna Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1854 - January 26 - daughter Roxyanna/Roxanna Holcomb died in Tennessee, and is buried in Porter Family Cemetery, in Maury County, TN (gravestone found on findagrave.com).
  • 1860 - Family living in Bell County, Texas (1860 Federal Census).
  • 1869 - March 17 - Eva Sabrina Porter Holcomb died and is said to have been buried in Carpenter's Cemetery, also known as Eulogy Cemetery in Temple, Bell County, Texas.
  • 1869 - June 16 - Eva's husband William Alfred Holcomb died and is said to have been buried near Eva.
If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

**Side Note
Doing research on other southern families, I've noticed the first male child is usually named after the wife's father as a sign of respect.  William Alfred Holcomb and Eva Sabrina Porter's first son was named John William Porter Holcomb.  I'm wondering if Eva's father was not just William Porter, but John William Porter?  It seems many people in this line went by their middle names, and not their first names.





Saturday, April 12, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 15 - Mamie Estelle Locke - 1888-1972

This weeks 52 Ancestors post is on my great grandmother, Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb.  This is one ancestor I've heard so many stories of, that I feel as if I knew her, even though we never met!  Every story I've been told about her has always been to the highest regard.  She was a sweet and caring lady.  Most people in our family referred to her as "Mama."  Those that new her outside the family called her Ms. Mamie.  We'll just refer to her as Mamie.
 
Mrs. Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb
Christmas 1949
My mother remembers her grandmother fondly.  Says she was a fabulous cook.  Remembers her out tending her rose garden in her dresses, gloves, hat, and heels.  My mom also remembers attending church with her as a young girl.  She was a very religious woman, who would be known to correct the preacher when he made a mistake in his sermon.  Being the daughter of a Minister of the Gospel, she was well educated on religion, and would sometimes teach Sunday school as well.  One thing that seems obvious, is everyone seemed to love her.
 
Mamie was born June 15, 1888 in Rosebud, White County, Arkansas.  She was the second child, and oldest daughter, of a blind preacher/piano teacher, Francis Marion Locke, and his wife Nancy Elizabeth Vines.  The family resided in White County, Arkansas for several years.  The last known document I've seen with their residence of White County was a letter sent to her mother, Nancy Elizabeth, from Benjamin J. Vines of Alabama in 1892.  Benjamin J. Vines was Mamie's great uncle and brother to her grandfather, John H.M. Vines, who died during the Civil War.  As far as we know, all of Mamie's siblings were born in White County as well.  They were:
  • Grover William Locke 1885 - ?
  • Vida Gertrude Locke 1890 - 1974
  • Pearl Locke 1892 - 1975
Census records for the family have not been found.  But Mamie did have an autograph book that her friends and relatives signed.  The earliest dated signature was March 9, 1898 by her mother and father, and it reads "Peaster, Texas."  We believe this book was given to her by her parents on this date.  It also provides us with other dates and other locations.  We can't be certain the family lived in these areas, however, they must have lived nearby.  Here is a list of names, dates, and places in her book (some of them are hard to read, due to the age of it):
  • 3/9/1898 - Peaster, Parker County, Texas - written by her mother and father, Nancy Elizabeth Vines and Francis Marion Locke
  • 1/26/1903 - Stephenville, Erath County, Texas - written by her brother Grover Locke
  • 2/15/1903 - Morgan Mill, Texas - written by Abbie Davis
  • 1/19/1904 - Stephenville, Erath County, Texas - written by Zuela Evans
Other names written in this book are:
  • ?? Hubbard
  • Her sister Vida Locke
  • Ruby Owens
  • 12/2/1899 - Maude (or Mando) Sherrill
  • 1/24/1903 - Jessie Dickerson
  • ?/20/1903 - Martin Mall
  • Elsie Reeves - Peaster, Texas
  • Pearl Benson ?
  • Blanche Smith - looks like in Rogers, Texas
  • Rudolph W? - looks like 4/10/1890, but its faded a bit, and we think it was possibly 1898
  • Rupert Wilson
  • Laila Ashford
Parker and Erath County are near one another, so it is safe to assume they lived around that area.  With her father's job, he traveled around to different places, preaching and teaching piano.  She would tell stories of how she would drive him around in the "buckboard" since he could not see.


Wedding certificate for Benton Rogers
Holcomb & Mamie Estelle Locke
July 21, 1908, Tarrant Co., TX
Then, at a local barn dance, she met a man playing the fiddle, named Benton Rogers Holcomb.  They were married July 21, 1908 in Tarrant County, Texas.  Benton, or Jake as he was called by everyone, was the son of Thomas William Holcomb and Hannah Jane Coburn.  He was born December 9, 1885 in Bell County, Texas.  She would say he could fit his hands all the way around her waist.  From what I've been told, she was a very petite woman.
 
By 1910, they were living in Justice Precinct No. 4, in Shackleford County, TX.  According to the Federal census, they were living next to Benton's brother Alford and his son Barney.  Benton was working as a farm laborer.
 
Then 3 years later, they had the first of 5 children.  The children are listed below:
  • Clyde 1913 - 1981
  • Mary Inez 1915 - 2005
  • Jake Jr. (Buck) 1919 - 2000
  • Chester Lee (Chet) 1922 - 1988
  • Tennie Belle 1927 - 2001
Mamie and her 2 sisters
possibly at the funeral of their
mother Nancy Elizabeth Vines Locke
Unknown location in Texas
The family was living in the same area during the 1920 Federal census as well, but this time it says "Anson & Albany Road."  Mamie's sister Pearl and her family (husband, Grover C. Dumas), were living just a few houses away.  Their other sister, Vida, along with her family (husband, C.H. McAlister), were living in nearby Haskell County.  Their father, Francis Marion Locke, was living with Vida and her family.
 
The family moved to Lubbock, Texas, for a brief time, before moving to New Lynn, Lynn County, Texas.  This is where we find them on the 1930 Federal census.  Benton was still working as a farmer, but for a brief time it is said he was a deputy sheriff.
 
The 1940 census we find them in Lynn County, again.  This time, their two oldest children had moved out, and were living with their spouses.  About a year later, Benton and Mamie bought a grocery store and gas station, which they ran with the help of their children.
 
 
Around 1946, Benton became sick, and was suffering from very bad asthma.  He and their son Buck went to Ruidoso, New Mexico, to seek treatment.  However, Benton died suddenly on March 11, 1946.  They laid him to rest in the Tahoka Cemetery, in Tahoka, Lynn County, Texas. 

In the 1940s, their daughter Inez, along with her husband Hurley Grady Meeks and their children, moved out to California.  By the time Benton died, they were living by Long Beach.  About a year after Benton's death, Mamie sold the grocery store and gas station, and eventually moved out to California too.  Tennie Belle and Buck went as well.  By this time, Tennie Belle was married to William Frank Gibson.
 
Eventually, in the early 1950s, Mamie would make her home at 4629 Center Street, Baldwin Park, CA.  She shared the 1 bedroom house with her son, Buck, who suffered from his time in WWII.  Mamie had the only bedroom, while Buck slept on a pull-out sofa in the front room.  By 1955, Her daughter Tennie Belle, and Tennie Belle's family, moved into the 2 bedroom house next door.
 
 
Locke sisters: Vida Gertrude McAlister,
Pearl Dumas Maahs, and Mamie Estelle
Holcomb
The picture above is of Mamie in front of her little 1 bedroom home.  She could be found outside in her garden tending her rose bushes or watering her apricot tree.  Even though she died before I was born, Buck still lived in the little house.  I remember playing in the yard with my brothers and cousins.  The trees and plants were a lot bigger by then.  It isn't there anymore.  The little old house was torn down, and new house sits on the lot.
 
Ms. Mamie passed away in California on April 4, 1972.  She was laid to rest next to her husband, Benton. 
 
Obituary for Mamie Estelle Locke
Holcomb found in family files


 
If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

 

Mamie with her children, 1971
Clyde, Mamie, Buck, Chet, Inez, and Tennie Belle
 

Monday, April 7, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 14 - Benton Rogers (Jake) Holcomb - Lynn County, Texas

B.R. "Jake" Holcomb
Photo taken about 1941-1945
I can't believe the 52 Ancestors Challenge is already a quarter of the way completed!! The weeks are passing quickly, and I just know I'm going to have several ancestors left to talk about once its over. Maybe I'll have to work on my own 52 Ancestors Challenge part 2! I want to thank Amy Johnson Crow for developing this idea, and letting me be a part of it. It has been an exciting journey, and has awakened my love of family research!

This week is all about Benton Rogers Holcomb, also known as B.R., or as Jake, to family and friends. In this post, however, I'm going to refer to him as Benton...I've always loved this name! He was my great grandfather, father of my grandmother Tennie Belle Holcomb Gibson.



B.R. Jake Holcomb on right, probably
with one of his brothers
Coburn, Alfred, or Charlie




Benton was born December 9, 1885 in Bell County, Texas. He was the youngest child of Thomas William Holcomb and Hannah Jane Coburn. By 1900, Benton, his sister Eva, and their parents were living in Precinct No. 6 of Milam County, Texas. According to the 1900 U.S. federal census, he was 14 years old, and attending school. Other siblings, who were already out of the house were Mary Willie, Zetha Roberta, Wilburn Coburn, William Alfred, Charles Andrew, and Barney (I believe Barney passed away as a young child).








July 21, 1908, in Tarrant County, Texas, Benton married Mamie Estelle Locke. She was born June 15, 1888 in Rosebud, White County, Arkansas and was the daughter of Francis Marion Locke and Nancy Elizabeth Vines. My mother remembers a story about how they met. It seems they both attended a barn dance one evening, where he was playing the fiddle. According to my grandmother, he was quite a fiddle player. Her favorite song was "Faded Love." He even wrote a song for his wife Mamie.


Benton with his siblings and father:
Coburn, Alfred, Zetha, Thomas (father), Eva, & B.R.
Photo may have been taken about 1913-14


By 1910, Benton and Mamie moved to Justice Precinct No. 4 of Shackelford County, Texas. According to the 1910 U.S. federal census, he was a farm laborer. It states the industry he was in was "working out." I'm not sure what this means, but I'm guessing he may have been working on a farm that wasn't his own. Next door to them was Alford Holcomb age 34, widowed, and his son Barney age 7. I believe this was Benton's older brother William Alfred.


Early photo of B.R. "Jake" Holcomb
Standing in the center - not sure who the other 2 men are.


By 1918, Benton was farming for himself, according to the U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 found on Ancestry.com. The card itself is difficult to read, but it says he was living in Lueders, Shackelford County, Texas. The description given on him says he was of medium height, medium build, and had brown eyes and black hair.

The 1920 U.S. federal census shows him, Mamie, and two of their children still living in Precinct 4, of Shackelford County.  Lueders is in Precinct 4. Benton and Mamie's oldest 2 children were Clyde, born in 1913, and Mary Inez (we called her Inie), born in 1915. Something odd about this census is it doesn't list their 3rd child Jake Jr. Jake, or Buck as we used to call him, was born October 29, 1919 and would have been born when they took this census. Of course, Benton's mother's birthplace is listed as Sweden (just as the household listed next door), and we definitely know she was not born in Sweden. This must have been an oversight of the census taker.

Two more children were born to Benton and Mamie: Chester Lee (I remember him as Chet), in 1922, and Tennie Belle (my beautiful grandmother), in 1927. The family remained in Shackelford for a brief time before moving west to Lubbock, Texas prior to Chet's birth. Not sure the exact date they moved, but I do know they moved once again, to New Lynn, Lynn County, Texas. Tennie Belle was born in Tahoka, the county seat of Lynn County.


Benton and son Jake Jr. "Buck" in front
of the store and gas station he owned
Somewhere in my records, I have written that Benton worked as a deputy sheriff in New Lynn, or Tahoka, around 1929. I don't know where this came from, so I'm unable to say its 100% accurate. But I do remember hearing he was a deputy for a short time. He did run for sheriff, but did not get it.

In 1930, he was working as a farmer, according to the 1930 U.S. federal census. The family was living in Justice Precinct No. 2, which I believe was New Lynn or Tahoka. In 1940, they were still in Lynn County, but this time it was Precinct No. 1. By this time the two oldest children were married and living out of the house.  However, they were still living in the same precinct. In fact, Clyde lived right next door with his wife Birdie.


Then around 1941, Benton and Mamie bought a grocery store and gas station. However, by 1946, Benton was suffering so bad from asthma that he had to go elsewhere to find some help. According to his obituary, he spent about 4 weeks in Ruidoso, New Mexico to try to find relief for it.  Unfortunately, it didn't help, and he passed away suddenly, March 11, 1946. His son, Buck, was with him.

Benton was buried at the Tahoka Cemetery, in Tahoka, Lynn County, Texas. He is buried next to his wife Mamie, who passed away some 26 years later in California.


Grave of B.R. "Jake" Holcomb and Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb
Tahoka Cemetery, Tahoka, Texas


Obituary found in family files



If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

























Tuesday, April 1, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 13 - Hannah Jane Coburn born April 30, 1850 in Texas

Hannah Jane Coburn (Colbourn), my great, great grandmother, is the subject of this weeks 52 Ancestor Challenge.  We'll refer to her as Jane, since that is what is written on our family bible sheets.  Jane was born April 30, 1850 probably in Houston County, Texas.  Her parents were Hansel Benton Coburn and Mariam Hannah Bennett.  They were early residents of Houston County, arriving in 1840 according to the US & Canada Passengers & Immigration List Index, 1500s-1900s on Ancestry.com.  The source is listed as "WHITE, GIFFORD. The First Settlers of Houston County, Texas. St. Louis, Mo.: Ingmire Pub., 1983. 35p."

The next record we find of Jane is the 1860 census from Beat 5, Houston County, Texas.  She is living with her parents and her siblings: Harriett age 13, Margaret age 3, and Willie age 1/2 a year.  There was also another 3 year-old living in the house by the name of Louisa Parker.  I don't know the relation of Louisa to the family.

From family data given to me by other family members, we find Jane married on July 23, 1867 to Thomas William Holcomb in Belton, Bell County, Texas.  Later, in the 1870 federal census, we see Jane and Thomas living in Beat 5, Bell County, Texas.  Their first child, Mary, is also shown, age 5 months.

Skip to the 1880 census, and we find the family living in Morgan, Bosque County, Texas.  In the household, we find Thomas and Jane along with their children: Mary age 10, Wilburn age 7, Alfred age 5, Zetha age 2, and Charles age 4 months.  In my records, I have a couple of other children who aren't mentioned: , Eva born 1882, Benton Rogers born 1885, and Barney born 1886.  These 3 wouldn't have been on the census anyhow, since they were born after 1880.  Benton is my great-grandfather, and my connection to Jane.

Since the 1890 federal census was destroyed, we will now jump to the 1900 federal census.  The family has moved and is now living in Precinct No. 6, Milam County, Texas.  There are only 2 children living at home, Eva at age 17 and Benton at age 15.  The 1900 census also states that Jane has had 8 children with only 6 living as of 1900.  I believe Barney passed away as a child, but not sure who the other child was?

In 1910, we see Jane in the federal census, but listed as a widow.  I don't know why, but our family bible reads that Thomas died November 6, 1919.  Could they have meant 1909?  You can see the entry to the right.  Either way, Jane is shown living with her daughter Zetha, Zetha's husband Fred Brown, and their 5 children.  They are living in Justice Precinct No. 5, Mitchell County, Texas.

By the age of 69, in 1920, she had moved in with her son Charley.  Charley, Jane, and his wife and children were living in Justice Precinct 1, Lubbock County, Texas.

If the record to the right is correct, we can see Jane passed away June 30, 1927.  However, there is a death certificate for Jane and it says she died July 8, 1927.  It says she died of heart failure, and was found in her bed.  She was living in Lubbock at the time, and her son Charles Andrew was the informant. 

There is no cemetery listed for Jane.  It just says she was buried in Lubbock Texas on July 8, 1927.  The undertaker is listed as A.C. Sanders  A.C. Sanders created the Sanders Funeral Home in the 1930's in Lubbock, and it is still in the same location today.  Not sure if they would be able to tell us where Jane would be buried though.  Her son Charles was buried in the Lubbock City Cemetery in 1964, so she may have also been buried there.  The cemetery was created in 1892 according to their website.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 12 - Howard Arthur Glesener, The Grandfather I Never Knew

Howard Arthur Glesener is the subject of this weeks 52 Ancestor Challenge.  He was the grandfather I never knew.  I started late on this post.  Thought it would be relatively easy to talk about my grandfather, but have come to realize, I haven't done that much research on the man.  Plus no one is around who can answer the hundreds of questions I currently have!!  It's one of the reasons I'm loving this challenge!  I'm looking at my ancestors in another light.  Not just through records, but looking for stories and trying to figure out who the person was.  Unfortunately, with my grandfather, I didn't ask the questions when I should have.  Now, I'm left to put the puzzle together.

   At the young age of just 40, he died of a heart attack.  My dad was still very little when his father died.  He was only six years old, and didn't have much to say about him.  It's possible, he didn't really remember much.  What he did say was that he was in pharmaceutical sales, he was in the army during WWII, and he played baseball for a St. Louis Cardinals farm team (he mentioned that last item very often).

Howard was the first, and only, son born to Frederick William Glesener and Elsie Justine Kutz, born August 8, 1916 in Chicago, Illinois.  His mother Elsie also died at a young age, just 48 years old.  Howard lived in Chicago, Illinois most of his life.  I'm not sure what his childhood was like.  The family moved homes each time a new census was taken, although they remained within the city of Chicago.  These are the addresses according to the US federal censuses found on Ancestry.com:
  • 1920 - 2208 Iowa Street
  • 1930 - 3549 Wrightwood Avenue (here, they were renting from Elsie's aunts Emma and Anna)
  • 1940 - 3006 Linder Avenue
The 1940 federal census says he was in school at the age of 23.  I'm not sure what school it would have been, but he was living at home with his father, sister, and grandmother Caroline Grote Glesener, it was just after the death of his mother.

I asked a cousin of mine recently, if she remembered any details of my grandfather.  She said she thinks he played baseball right out of high school, but quit because he was homesick.  He was a "Southpaw," as she put it - a left-handed pitcher.  My dad was quite impressed with that.

I don't really remember even seeing a picture of him until I was in junior high.  My grandmother gave my mom a copy of the picture to the right.  Aren't they a cute couple??  It was taken on their wedding day, July 17th, 1943, in Chicago, IL.  Howard married Judith Helen Wilhelmina Westboy.  She was the daughter of Roy Westboy and Wilhelmina, or Minnie, Johansson.

Soon after they were married, they moved to Charleston, South Carolina.  I'm guessing this is due to his work in the Army.  Speaking of the Army, I can not find any paperwork showing he was drafted or enlisted.  I've just searched Ancestry.com and Fold3.com, but no luck.  What base would he have been stationed at?  I'm not sure either.  However, by August 14, 1944, they were living back in Illinois.  That is when their oldest child, Judith Kathleen Glesener, was born. 

By March 16, 1949 they had moved to 353 Marshall Avenue, Bellwood, IL.  I know this from pictures in my grandmother's scrapbook.  My dad, Rand Howard Glesener, was born that next year on August 25, 1950. 

Judith, Kathleen, and Howard

I found on a search through Ancestry.com, a copy of The Norwich Sun dated 12/20/1950.  In it, Norwich Pharmacal Co. listed the names of all their employees, wishing them a Merry Christmas.  The name "Howard Glesener" was listed.  I'm guessing he was a rep for the company, but I can't be positive.

My dad said by the time he was 2, they had moved to Los Angeles, California.  He mentioned they moved because my grandmother had a friend out there.  Not sure if that is the real reason, but she did live in California for a short time prior to marrying Howard.  It was here in 1953 they had one more child.

According to their children, there were tensions at home between Howard and Judith, but I'm not sure exactly what they were.  My cousin remembered him as "always cheerful and smiling, wonderful with children, kind and sweet..."  My dad didn't really describe his father other then the basic facts he knew. 

On November 4, 1956, at 11am, in their home at 4616 Pickford Street, in Los Angeles, Howard died of a "Coronary Arterial Thrombosis" due to "Coronary Arteriosclerosis."  His body was brought back to Chicago, where he was buried near other family members at Concordia Cemetery.

I know not having a father around was tough on his kids.  My dad never said so, but you could see that he felt he was missing something.  A child needs their father just as much as their mother growing up.  I have always wondered what my dad's life would have been like if his father would have been able to be there.  I know I really would have loved knowing him!

If you have any questions or concerns about the information in this post, please leave a comment.  Thank you for reading!!



Further research needed to do...

Writing this has made me realize I need to look into his life a bit more.  I've researched his name online, but I still have a list of questions I need to follow up on:
  • Where did he attend school?
  • Where exactly did he play baseball, and for how long?
  • Did he enlist into the army, or was he drafted?  I can't seem to find a draft card or enlistment paperwork. 
  • How long did he serve?  Did he have to go overseas at all during the war?























Tuesday, March 18, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 11 - Palmira E. Jackson - South Carolina to Fayette County, Alabama

Continuing the 52 Ancestors Challenge, started by Amy Johnson Crow, I've decided to write about my 4th great grandmother Palmira/Palmyra Jackson.

About 15 years ago, my mom started researching our family tree online.  Based on a couple of sheets of paper that were torn out of a family bible, she was able to determine that her grandmother's, grandmother (her great, great grandmother) was Elizabeth Miles Vines.  But who were Elizabeth's parents?  Her mother and father were not listed on the pages, they began with Elizabeth and her husband John H.M. Vines (who I discussed in week 9).  Along with these bible pages, there was a letter written by John W. Miles to his sister Elizabeth Miles Vines dated September 27, 1877, from Fayette County, Alabama (copy shown below).


Eventually, she was able to stumble on to Elizabeth's parents names through copies of probate papers she received from a cousin.  They were copied at the Fayette County Courthouse in Alabama.  Her parents were Robert P. Miles and Palmira E.(F.) Miles.

Palmira E.(F.) Jackson Miles

We've spent many hours researching Palmira.  Who was she?  Where was she born?  Who were her parents?  The earliest record we could find of her was her marriage record to Robert P. Miles in Meriwether County, Georgia on May 16, 1833.  Here we see her maiden name was Jackson.

Marriage record of Robert P. Miles and Palmira Jackson May 16, 1833, Meriweather Co., GA
Image found on Familysearch.org, "Georgia, County Marriages, 1785-1950"
https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-25508-20992-34?cc=1927197
We soon came to find that searching for a woman, with the maiden name of Jackson, prior to the 1850 census was very difficult!!  In the state of Georgia, the name Jackson is very common.  Many Jacksons also moved from Georgia to Alabama, just as Palmira and Robert did.  So who's line did she belong to??  To get this answer, we'll trace Palmira's life and what we do know.

We do know the names of the children of Robert and Palmira.  We've pieced these together through a couple different documents.
  • Elizabeth b.1834, d.after 1891
  • Lucinda b. 1835, d.1908
  • Margaret (Maggie) b.1839, d. 1917
  • Matilda Ann b.1840, d. 1857
  • Absalom Jackson b.1841, d.1862
  • John W. b.1841, d.1918
  • Alevia b.184, d.unknown
  • Robert Paul b.1847, d.1930
  • William H. b.1849, d.1918
After Robert and Palmira were married, we can find an R. Miles living in Huey's District, Harris County, GA on the 1840 US federal census.  The family consisted of one male age 20-29, 2 females under the age of 5, 2 females age 5-9, and one female age 30-39. 

There is no 1850 federal census, with the family's names listed, that I can find.  I've spent many hours looking with no luck.  So, the next record we turn to is the Alabama state census of 1855.  Here there is a Robert Miles living in Beat 13, Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  In the household we now see 4 males under the age of 21, 1 male age 21 and over, 4 females under the age of 21, and one female age 21 and older.  Their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was married in 1849 and living with her husband in Tallapoosa County by this time.

By the 1860 federal census, we can see the family has moved again.  They were now living in Eastern Division, Fayette County, Alabama.  In the household was Robert, Palmira, Maggie, John, Absalom, Alevia, Robert, and William, along with some others who were living with the family: Green Stow (the husband of their daughter, Matilda Ann, who passed away in 1857), and the Manasco family - William C., Sarah A., Davens J., James H., and Dorphus.  Palmira is listed as age 52, and born in Georgia.

Alabama had another state census in 1866.  The family was still living in Fayette at this time.  In the household we see 14 people: 2 males under age 10, 2 males age 10-20, one male age 20-30, one male age 70-80, one female under the age of 10, 4 females age 10-20, one female age 20-30, one female age 30-40, and one female age 50-60.  The reason the household was so large, was because their daughter Elizabeth moved back in with her parents after the death of her husband during the war.  She also brought with her, her 7 children.  Their daughter Lucinda was married and no longer living with the family.  She was living with her husband, William Marion Beckett.  Also on this census is some additional information pertaining to the Civil War.  Here we see 2 soldiers in the household died of sickness during the war, and one soldier was disabled.  We know the 2 soldiers that were killed were Robert and Palmira's son Absalom Jackson Miles, and their son-in-law, Elizabeth's husband, John H.M. Vines.  The disabled soldier was their son John W. Miles.  His application for pension says he was wounded in the right ankle during the "battle of Sharpsburg Maryland, September 17, 1862."

Robert and Palmira remained in Fayette County, and we can see them living there, in Township 17, on the 1870 federal census.  In the house with them were their children Alevia (written as Levi) and William.  The household listed next to theirs contained their daughter Elizabeth Vines and 5 of her children.

In May of 1874, Holland M. Bell began filing the paperwork for the probate of the estate of Robert P. Miles.  We don't know the exact day of his death, but according to the probate papers, it was in 1873.  He died without a will.  Holland M. Bell was the son-in-law of Robert and Palmira.  He married their daughter Margaret (Maggie) in 1866. 

Sometime before May of 1874, Robert and Palmira's daughters Elizabeth and Lucinda, along with their families, moved to White County, Arkansas.  At the beginning of this post I shared a copy of a letter written by John W. Miles to his sister Elizabeth Miles Vines who was residing in Arkansas at the time.  According to this letter, Palmira passed away September 24, 1877.  The letter also states she was buried next to her husband Robert.  Both were buried in the Fayette City Cemetery. 

To the right are some pictures we've taken of the headstones in Fayette City Cemetery.  This first picture is of Palmira's headstone.  Its almost unreadable.  The second picture shows (from left to right) Robert P. Miles (headstone is broken), Palmira E. Miles, and Robert Calvin Miles (infant son of John W. Miles and Victoria P. West Miles, grandson of Robert and Palmira, born 8/19/1886 and died 8/21/1886). 

For some reason, there are additional stones just lying around.  Behind these 3 stones in picture #2, maybe 10 to 15 feet, is the headstone of a Bell relative.  There is a concrete boarder around the grave of this individual.  Right behind the boarder and gravestone that says "Bell," is a small white stone with the initials P.E.F.M. (shown to the right).  It was just lying on the grass and looks out of place.  On another trip, it was propped on top of the concrete boarder. 

Within the boarder of that same "Bell" grave, is another small white stone that is just lying in the corner.  This particular stone has the initials R.P.M.  Why are there other stones with their initials on them?  Who placed them there, and where do they really belong??  I haven't been in contact with the church that takes care of this part of the cemetery yet.  You can see the two small stones in this last picture on the right. 

In this same cemetery, their daughter Margaret (Maggie) Miles Bell is buried and so is her husband Holland Middleton Bell.  Holland was a Civil War soldier, Fayette County Probate Judge from 1880 to 1892, and died at the age of 104 in 1943.

On September 29, 1877 Holland M. Bell started the paperwork to sell the remaining property owned by the estate of Robert P. Miles.  The land was set aside for his widow and was listed as "NE 1/4 of Section 29, T 16, R 12."  I've tried mapping this piece of property.  If I'm right, the property is south of the City of Fayette, and had the Sipsey River running through it on the west half, and County Road 35 running through the east half.  At the northeast corner of the property is where County Road 35 and Oak Grove Road meet.  Macedonia Baptist Church is just south of it on County Road 35.

So Which Jackson Family Does Palmira Belong to???

We finally made this discovery in 2010.  Palmira and Robert had twin sons.  They were the first born boys in their family.  For many years, we've believed Robert P. Miles father to be John Miles of Baldwin County, GA.  Since the other twin was named Absalom, it was natural for us to assume Palmira's father was probably named Absalom.  There were a couple of men named Absalom Jackson through out Georgia, but only one moved to Chambers County, AL in the 1830s.  We were able to get a copy of the will of Absalom Jackson who died in 1838 in Chambers County, AL.  However, this will only listed his wife, Abigail, and 3 daughters who were living at home: Abigail, Pheobe, and Mary.  Then I decided to contact the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and for a small fee, they were able to send me the entire probate file on him.  The first page listed all of his heirs.  He had 7 daughters, Palmira was listed as number 4!!  Robert P. Miles even signed for his wife's inherited property in the file!! 

So, now we are 100% certain that Palmira Jackson Miles is the daughter of Absalom Jackson.  However, I'm not 100% certain that she is the daughter of Abigail Jackson, the wife of Absalom when he died.  There is a gap of about 9 years between his 5th daughter and his 6th daughter.  So, I'm hesitant to make that conclusion.  But we do know that Palmira had 6 sisters, all of whom moved to Alabama with their families.  They were (I've included their married names): Elizabeth Brooks, Matilda Hamlin, Pheobe Thompson, Epsey Hamilton, Abigail Stephens, and Mary Tucker.  All lived in Chambers, Tallapoosa, and Fayette Counties in Alabama. 

Where exactly was Palmira born?  Not completely sure, but her father was from South Carolina and living in Jones County, Georgia by 1815.  Its very possible he could have been living in Baldwin County as early as 1807.  If he was, then Palmira, who was born about 1808, would have been born in Georgia.  But this is speculation right now.  I'm still working on Absalom's whereabouts.

But what does the E, or the F in her name mean?  We think the E might be for Elizabeth or Estella.  Both were names used throughout our family.  The F is completely foreign to me.  I wish I knew what it was for.  Always more questions!!!

So what line of Jacksons does her father Absalom descend from???  I'm still working on that.  Hopefully, we'll know soon enough!

If you have any questions, or concerns, about any of the information listed above, please leave a comment. I'd be happy to provide any additional information. Thanks for reading!!



Monday, March 10, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 10 - Matilda Ann Miles - Not To Be Forgotten...

It's been 10 weeks now into 2014, and we're at our #10 post for the 52 Ancestors Challenge started by Amy Johnson Crow.  This week I've decided to focus on an individual who had been forgotten through time.  We've all probably come across these individuals throughout our research.  A distant family member who died before they should have.  Before having children and leaving a legacy to go on after them.  I feel it is our duty to write about these people, share their story, so they won't be forgotten.

In this case, I will be talking about the sister of my great, great, great grandmother.  Her name was Matilda Ann Miles.  Researching my family for many years, it was only recently that we came to find this Matilda was probably part of our line. 

Matilda was the daughter of Robert P. Miles and Palmira E. Jackson.  What year she was born exactly, I'm not sure.  Her tombstone is hard to read, but I believe it says she was born "January 1840."  If so, Robert and Palmira were living in Harris County, Georgia during the 1840 census.  So she would probably have been born somewhere around there.  She may have been named after Palmira's sister Matilda Jackson who married Jethro Hamlin.

There is no census record with Matilda's name on it...she isn't shown, or listed by name, with the family, nor do I have any bible records passed down showing her.  The only proof I have that Matilda Miles is related to Robert and Palmira Miles, is a picture of the gravestone in Stowe's Cemetery for her.   It looks like it says she is the daughter of "R & P Miles".  I saved a copy of the stone, but I'm hesitant to add it to this post.  I have in my notes that I found it on Findagrave.com, but today as I write this, it is not showing online on their website anymore.  I'll just have to make a trip to Stowe's Cemetery in Alexander City, Tallapoosa County, Alabama some day.  There's so much research I'd love to do in Tallapoosa and Chambers Counties!!  Maybe one day!!

Here is the other proof I have that makes me believe Matilda belonged to our family:
  • 1840 US census shows Robert living in Hueys District, Harris County, GA with 5 females: 2 under 5, 2 ages 5-10, and one age 30-40 (Palmira).
    • Daughters we know for sure are:
      • Elizabeth born 1834
      • Lucinda born 1835
      • Margaret born 1839
      • If Matilda was born January 1840, she could be the second girl under 5.
  • 1850 US census can not be found for the Robert P. Miles family...I've looked and looked, but it must not exist!!
  • 1855 Alabama state census shows Robert living in Tallapoosa County, AL with 4 females under the age of 21.
    • Daughter Elizabeth was married and living with husband John H.M. Vines and no longer in the house. This leaves the following daughters living in the household:
      • Lucinda age 20
      • Margaret age 16
      • Another daughter, Alevia, was born in 1844 and would be about 11 years old.
      • Matilda would have been 15, and could have been this 4th girl.
  • 1856 We have a marriage record found for Matilda A. Miles and William G.U. Stow in Dadeville, Tallapoosa County, Alabama - near where the Miles family was living.
Marriage Record for William G.U. Stow and Matilda A. Miles
September 9, 1856, Dadeville, Tallapoosa County, Alabama
Found online at https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-25844-7682-32?cc=1743384&wc=M9WB-HGT:n252468430

  • 1860 US census shows Robert Miles living in Fayette County, AL with his wife and 6 of their kids: Margaret, John, Absalom, Alevia, Robert, and William. There are also others living in the household: "Green Stoe", and the William C. Manasco family of 5.
    • I believe this "Green Stoe" could be the same William G.U. Stowe that was in Tallapoosa, who married Matilda Miles. He could have moved with the family after Matilda and his son died.  Further research on him shows his full name was probably William Green Uptegrove Stowe, son of Abraham Robinson Stowe and Sallie Frances Poindexter who were living near Stowe's Ferry, Tallapoosa County, AL.
  • In 1859, Elizabeth Miles, Robert and Palmira's oldest daughter, gave birth to a girl. She named this girl Matilda. Could she have named her after her sister who passed away? I believe this was the case.
From the research I've done on William G.W. Stowe (possibly the same William Green Uptegrove Stowe?), he married in 1861 to Sarah H. Wamack in Tuscaloosa, AL. This William G. Stowe is in the 1910 US census with his wife Sarah and family. The census is blurry, but looks like it says it was his 2nd marriage.

To absolutely confirm that Matilda Ann Miles was the daughter of Robert and Palmira Miles, I've been looking for the 1850 census, but again have had no luck.

One last, and very important item about Matilda, is the fact that she most likely died in childbirth.  Buried with her is her one and only child Robert A. Stowe.  It is inscribed on the stone under Matilda's information "ALSO are infant son Robert A. Stowe."  Two young souls gone too soon.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a message. I'd be happy to answer any questions or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 9 - John H.M. Vines - 34th Alabama Infantry - Civil War

JOHN H.M. VINES
 
Is this the picture of John H.M. Vines??  We will probably never know for sure.  It was found in some of my great grandmother, Mamie's, things.  We believe it might be John H.M. Vines, her grandfather.  We can not be 100% sure of this, but the resemblance to his sister Lucinda, and his daughter Nancy Elizabeth are strong.  It is a small tin-type photo.  Also in her belongings, was a handwritten letter from John to his wife, Elizabeth Miles Vines that he wrote while away during the Civil War.  It was dated July 11, 1862, just 10 days before he died.

John H.M. Vines was born about 1829 in, or around, Abbeville, South Carolina.  He was the youngest son of John "Jabez" Vines and Nancy Mattison.  He had at least 2 sisters and 2 brothers that we know of:
  • Mary "Pollie" Ann - born 1822, died 1846
  • Benjamin J. "B.J." - born 1824, died 1910
  • George Washington - born 1828
  • Lucinda Purcilla - born 1832, died 1913
1830 Federal census we find a "Jabish" Vines living in Abbeville District, South Carolina.  There are additional children living in the household, besides the 4 we know they had: 2 older male children and 3 older female children.  So there is a possibility that John could have had additional siblings.

1840, we find the family has moved to Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  In the household are children the ages of John, B.J., George, and Lucinda.  Pollie was married by then to George M. Berry, and also living in Tallapoosa County.

Then, on February 13, 1849, we find the marriage record of John H.M. Vines and Elizabeth Miles.  Elizabeth was the oldest daughter of Robert P. Miles and Palmira Jackson.  She was born October 5, 1834 in Georgia, probably near Meriwether County.  We can see the couple living next to John's father Jabez, in Township 22, Tallapoosa County, Alabama on the 1850 census.

Together, the couple had 7 children:
  • Mary Ann Melvina 1850-1897
  • Nancy Elizabeth 1851-1920
  • Lucinda Jane 1853-1922
  • Susan Margarett 1854-????
  • Robert Javis 1856-1934
  • Matilda Estella 1859-1924
  • George Washington 1861-????

1860 Federal census we see John, Elizabeth and their 6 older children living in Western Division (Beat 2), Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  John's occupation is shown as "farmer."  There was also a "Non-Population Schedule" done for the year of 1860.  In it, we can see he owned a farm of 320 acres, 30 improved and 290 unimproved, with a cash value of $700.  On this farm, he had 5 horses, 5 milk cows, 2 working oxen, 2 other cattle, and 16 pigs (or swine as it states).  This livestock had a value of $590.  On this schedule you can see the majority of crops raised in the area were of Indian corn and cotton.  John's farm had 30 bushels of Indian corn and 9 bales of ginned cotton (bales were of 400lbs each).  Comparing John's farm to those of his father and siblings, you see his farm was much lower in value.  Comparing acres you see he had more acres then his siblings, but less of those acres were improved.  He also had less livestock.  His siblings and father lived near each other in Beat No. 13 in Tallapoosa County, but John lived in Beat No. 2.

Then, in 1861 came the Civil War.  Its hard to read the index cards on Fold3.com, however, you find John H.M. Vines age 30 enlisting as a Private in Company D of the 34th Alabama Infantry.  His brother George Washington Vines also enlisted and served in the same company.  In the book Soldiers of the Southern Cross, The Confederate Soldiers of Tallapoosa County, Alabama, by William Gregory Wilson, "the 34th Alabama Regiment was organized at Loachapoka in Macon County, Alabama on April 15, 1862."  The company was brought together at Loachapoka, but was ordered, in June, to report to Tupelo, Mississippi.  According to Mr. Wilson's book, not only was there a lot of sickness and disease within the troops, water was scarce in Tupelo too.  The men had to "dig deep wells in search of potable water."  Because of the lack of water, and the heat of summer, Mr. Wilson believes some camps moved east of Tupelo.  We see this move shown in a letter from John H.M. Vines to his wife Elizabeth (except his camp moved north about 8 miles, not east).

Itawamba Cty, Saltillo Miss
July 11th 1862
 
Dear Wife I seat my self this morning to reply to your kind letter that I received yesterday and was proud to hear from you and that you was all well.  Beffy I must say to you that I haven't seen a well day since I have been hear with the exception of one week though I have been up all the time except four days and I was very bad of(f) then.  I could not walk a step with out help it was mumps that got me so lo.  I am doing tollerable well now but not able to do duty.  Beffy a soldiers life is a hard life you need not dout it.  Some of the doctors says it is my liver that is wat is the mater with me now and some of them says it is plurisy.  Ever since I have got up from the mumps I have had a sever misery in my left side and a sever cough which hurts me very much but I am a great deal better than I have been.  Beffy George holds up fine he is as lively as you pleas and has been all the time.  Beffy we have moved from Tupelo up to Saltillo about eight miles.  Walking up here worsted me mighty.  You must still direct your letters to Tupelo a while longer we will still keep marching toward Tenesee I recon some thinks we will go to Tenesee.  Beffy as you want to go to your Paps you are at liberty to go when ever you want to go.  Beffy I am more than to gratify you in any respect that you wish so I want you to go when ever you get ready.  God bless your sweet soul.  I wish I could be with you but it is out of my power at this time.  Beffy I wrote to you in a letter that I sent by Elias Berry what & how I wanted you to manage when you left for your Paps.  Beffy you no it is my wish for you to go.  Beffy you wrote for me to try to do better.  I have quit swaring entirely and have been ever since I have been here.  I will close with you and reply to Melly.  I remain your affectionate husband until death.  J.H.M. Vines
 
My dear daughter I am proud that you can write to your Pa.  Melly I want you to be good girl bless your sweet little soul and all of the rest of my children.  I wish I could be with you all.  Melly kiss Til and Budy for me.  I want to see you all so bad.  Melly when you all go to your grand Paps be sweet children.  I hope I will be with you all before long.  Melly write to me you and your ma as soon as you get this.  Farewell your loving Pa whose love shal never fail.
J.H.M. Vines
 

Such a sweet letter, and he must have been really ill.  On a widow's pension filed by Elizabeth in 1892, she put down as his date of death, July 21st, 1862.  Only 10 days later.  Whether he was still in Saltillo, MS, I'm not sure.  Towards the end of July, the 34th Alabama went by "rail roundabout through Mobile to Chattanooga in preparation for a Confederate offensive into central Kentucky."  This is according to Mr. Wilson's book.  It is certain that John did not have to see, or fight, in any battle in the war.  The 34th didn't see their first battle until December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Murfreesboro.

Where John would have died, and is buried, is a mystery.  If he could have made the journey to Tennessee, I've been told he may have died at Tyner's Station, Tennessee or camp Recovery.  However, since the 34th didn't move until late July, its quite possible he died prior to the journey, or could have been too sick to make the journey.  No, I believe he probably didn't make the trip and died somewhere near Saltillo, or Tupelo, Mississippi.  There is an unknown Confederate soldier buried in a plot next to Elizabeth's parents in Fayette County, Alabama, where Elizabeth was wanting to move per the letter from John shown above.  I'm not sure they would have brought the body back to the family.  Seems like there wouldn't have been the time or money for that.  He was probably buried with the many other men who died of disease in the area of Tupelo at that time.

Elizabeth did indeed move back with her parents.  You can find her and the 7 children in the 1870 Federal census living next door to her parents, Robert and Palmira Miles, in Fayette County, Alabama.  In fact, the 1866 Alabama state census shows Robert Miles household.  In that household is him and his wife, their remaining children living at home, and the added number of Elizabeth and her 7 children.  This particular census is interesting because it asks about the Civil War soldiers who would have been living in the household.  Where it says "died of sickness" we see they marked "2."  One would have been Elizabeth's brother Absalom Jackson Miles who died of sickness near Richmond, Virginia, and the other was probably her husband, John H.M. Vines.

It would have been interesting to hear what stories John's granddaughter, Mamie, would have heard about him.  I assume Mamie's mother, Nancy Elizabeth, must have mentioned her father at some point.  We do know his wife Elizabeth was around when Mamie was a young girl too.  So its safe to assume Elizabeth might have mentioned him to Mamie as well.  I don't think anyone asked Mamie, or even knew about this man or the letter she carried with her.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about any of the information listed above, please leave a comment.  I'd be happy to provide any additional information.  Thanks for reading!!



Monday, February 24, 2014

#52Ancestors - Week 8 - Roy William Westboy - Cattle Buyer, Farmer, Needlepoint Artist?? Found in Chicago, IL

Week number 8 of the 52 Ancestors Challenge, started by Amy Johnson Crow.  This week I've chosen to write about a man who has been the biggest mystery in all my research...Roy William Westboy.


Earliest photo I've found of him.
Not sure where or when it was taken.
Who was Roy William Westboy???  Was he from Norway, or was he born in the US??  Was he born in 1880 or 1888?  I've been researching him for 14 years, with little luck.  Who was this cattle buyer, farmer, gardener, and needlepoint artist????  Yes, I said needlepoint!  He did needlepoint and was very good at it.  I have several things that were passed down to me, that he created.  One that used to hang behind my grandmother's couch was a copy of Thomas Gainsborough's Blue Boy.  That one is now in the hands of another family member, but it was a beautiful piece!  I've shared a few pictures of his artwork.  If you scroll down, you can see them at the end of this post.

My grandmother didn't talk much about her father, but she did mention a couple of interesting things.  She said he was born in Norway, and was adopted out of England, prior to coming to the US.  She also said that he was a "perpetual liar!!"  That last comment threw me, but at the time, I didn't think to ask any further questions.  Now I'm kicking myself!!  Years back, I asked my Aunt Kathie and my father about him, but they just said the same thing.  No one knows anything about him!

Up until a couple of years ago, I had only seen one picture of Roy.  It was a picture of him walking, and was in a photo album my grandmother made for my father.  It wasn't a great picture, and I really couldn't make out what he looked like.  However, that all changed when I received all of my grandmother's pictures from my Aunt.  It was a wonderful gift!!  I can not express how much it meant to me to see these photos.  I carefully scanned each one, and made several digital copies so my family, and myself, would always have them.  I was very surprised to see just how many pictures my grandmother had of her father!!

 So, here is what I do know about Roy Westboy...
 
Roy Westboy and Wilhelmina Johnson
Wedding photo
There are several documents with info on him, unfortunately, none can be found prior to 1916.  The first record we can find is his marriage record dated February 10, 1917, in Chicago, Cook County, IL.  He married Wilhelmina Albertina Johansson/Johnson (she went by the name Minnie).  According to their marriage record, Roy was 29 and Minnie was 41.  Quite an age difference!!

I found his WWI draft card.  This document was dated June 5, 1917 and says he was 30 years old, residing in Thompsonville, Benzie County, MI.  His birth date is listed as "Jan 1 1887."  His residential status was Alien, and he was born in Christiana, Norway.  It shows he was a self-employed farmer working in Springdale, Manistee County, MI.  Item 9 on the card asks: "Have you a father, mother, wife, child under 12, or a sister or brother under 12, solely dependent on you for support (specify which)?", and he replied "Wife child. 1."  He was married, but my grandmother wasn't born yet, so this answer seemed odd to me.

Then, on March 16, 1918, was the birth of their daughter Judith Helen Wilhelmina Westboy in Chicago, Cook County, IL.  The birth record states he was a "Farmer," born in Norway, was 31 years old, and currently lived in Thompsonville, Benzie County, MI.

According to Google maps, Thompsonville, MI is about 300 miles by car, if you drive around Lake Michigan.  I'm not sure what type of ferry, or boat, would have been available at that time.  Its my opinion, that Minnie may not have been living in Thompsonville, but was living in Chicago.  The 1920 federal census also shows Minnie and Judith living on Berwyn Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, IL, but Roy is not listed in the household with them.

In my grandmother's scrapbooks, there are a few photos of her and her mother on a farm in Indiana when she was very young (age 2-6).  In the scrapbook its written "South Haven."  The same page had a photo with an older man chopping wood.  On the back of this photo it said "Granddad."  In another picture on this page, is a picture of Roy with my grandmother around the same time.  Wondering if Roy had family in South Haven, Indiana??

Sometime in 1920, Minnie and Judith went back to Tegnaby, Sweden to visit Minnie's family.  I don't know how long they stayed, but they returned in 1926 through New York.  After arriving back in Chicago, Minnie took a job as a housekeeper for Mr. Olaf Christopherson.  She and Judith lived with Mr. Christopherson on Roscoe Street in Chicago for many years.

Then we have the 1930 census...this gets a bit more interesting.  Minnie and Judith are shown living on Roscoe Street with Mr. ChristophersonMinnie is shown as a housekeeper/servant and divorced.  Then, we have another entry, this time on Otis Road in Barrington, Cook County, ILRoy is shown living here with Minnie and Judith listed in the household.  Now, Roy is listed as age 50 (this would mean he was born about 1880), and he was born in Louisiana!!!  His parents birth places are listed as South America!!  It also shows he was working as a gardener for a private house.

In all of my research, I have not been able to find any divorce records for Roy and Minnie, nor have I been able to find any naturalization paperwork on RoyMinnie filed for naturalization.  Her Declaration for Intention was filed May 31, 1929.  At that time, the document stated that she did not know where Roy was residing.  On August 26, 1931, her Petition for Citizenship was filed.  On this form she still did not know where Roy was, but she listed him as being born January 1, 1886 in Oslo, Norway. 

The picture on the right is one from my grandmother's scrapbook.  On the back is written "Min Man och dotter" in Minnie's writing.  This means my husband and daughter.  My grandmother also wrote on the back "Taken of Judy in the year 1931 age 13."  So they must have known where he was by 1931.

By 1934, I know Minnie and Judith made their way back to Tegnaby, Sweden, and I know they lived there with one of Minnie's sisters for an extended period of time.  I do remember my grandmother saying she lived in Sweden with an aunt and cousins.  Roy did not go with them.  They stayed until June of 1935 and returned back to Roscoe Street in Chicago.  Where Roy is at this time, again I do not know for sure.

A couple of years ago the 1940 census was released to the public.  I couldn't wait!!  I looked daily to see if I could find this family somewhere.  I was able to find Minnie prior to the census being indexed.  She was still living on Roscoe Street, with Mr. Christopherson.  This time, she is listed as his sister and single.  She was not his sister, I know that for a fact.  By this time, Judith was 21 and had moved out on her own.  She was living with a friend Vernace M. Schroeder (or Vern as my grandmother called her).  She was living on Winthrop Avenue in Chicago, Cook County, IL and working as a typist for a manufacturer.  It wasn't until the census was indexed for Michigan that I was able to find Roy.  He was living alone in Springdale, Manistee County, MI.  Here he is listed as married, about 58 years old, and born in New Mexico!  It says he was living at this same residence in 1935 as well.
 
During WWII another draft was done.  Roy also filed for this.  We can see his registration card below.  Notice he is sticking with the New Mexico birth, this time we have the city of DemingRoy is still living in Springdale when this was filed in 1942.  His birth date is listed as January 1, 1880, and his person of contact is Minnie living on Roscoe Street in Chicago.



The final document I have on my great grandfather is his death certificate.  Roy William Westboy died July 21, 1953 at Grant Hospital of Chicago from Coronary Thrombosis.  His date of birth given on the form is January 1, 1880, and his birthplace given is Illinois.  "Cattle Buyer" is shown as his usual occupation.  Here, they have names for his parents: John Westboy and Mary Gonzales.  It also lists Roy as a widow, which is odd considering Minnie did not die until 1955.  My grandmother, by the time of Roy's death, had been married with children, and was living in California.  The person who filled out the paperwork for Roy's death record was someone who worked at the hospital.  I'm not sure how accurate the information she gave was.  Roy was buried July 24, 1953 at Irving Park Blvd. Cemetery in Chicago.

I've researched the names of John Westboy and Mary Gonzales, but I've come up with nothing.  Again, I'm not sure these names are correct.  My theory is that he may have come from Norway, possibly at a young age.  He may have been an orphan as well.  His name could have been changed if he was from Norway...possibly could have been Westby?  I believe he may have not had the paper trail to rely on and was unable, or just didn't want to, obtain U.S. citizenship.  This may have been the reason for the changes in his birthplace.  Maybe he was afraid the U.S. would deport him??  I really don't know.  But I do know I'll keep looking into it.  Only 8 more years until the 1950 census is scheduled for release!!  I wonder what his birthplace will be on that??

Below are some of the pieces of needlepoint I have passed down from Roy.


One of my favorite pieces by Roy.  My grandmother gave this to my parents years ago.
Another by Roy.  I remember asking my dad when I was young about it and he said his grandfather made it.  I didn't believe him at first, I thought it must have been his grandmother, but it was Roy.
A purse Roy made for my grandmother



This final picture is of Roy working on one of his pieces.


If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a message.  I'd be happy to answer any questions or share what information I have on the individuals listed above.  Thanks for reading!!