Wednesday, October 1, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Mariam Hannah Barrett - SC to TX - Week 35

Mariam Hannah Barrett is the subject of this weeks post.  Mariam was my 3rd great grandmother...she was the mother of Hannah Jane Coburn, who was the mother of Benton Rogers Holcomb, who was the father of my maternal grandmother, Tennie Belle Holcomb.

Mariam Hannah Barrett was born April 25, 1821 in Greenville, South Carolina.  Her parents were David Barrett and Elizabeth, or Betsy, Whitten.  There is a lot of information on David Barrett, seems he was in a bit of a court battle over his father, Reuben Barrett's, will.  But we'll get into that on another post.

The family moved by 1826, to Fayette County, Tennessee.  In a letter postmarked "Wolf River, Tennessee April 26...accepted for posting in Fayette Co TN on May 23, 1826," David Barrett wrote to his father-in-law about their life in Tennessee.  A transcribed copy of the letter can be found on the website for the Tennessee Genealogical Society (letter contributed by Arthur M. Reagan for the TN Genealogical Magazine "Ansearchin'" News, TN Genealogical Society, Memphis, TN; Summer 1986; Vol. 33, No. 2).

Anyhow, the family was now making a new start in Tennessee, and can also be found in Fayette County on the 1830 Federal Census.  By July 18, 1839, Mariam marries Hansel Benton Coburn in Fayette.  A copy of this record can be found on, Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002.  However, not long after they were married, we find Hansel in Houston County, Texas.  I've read online that they may have followed one of her brothers to Texas.  Her parents, David and Betsy, also moved too.

They stayed in Houston County until sometime in the 1860s.  By the 1870 Federal Census, you can see they moved to Bell County, Texas.  Sometime after 1870, Hansel died, because we can see Mariam in Bell, Texas listed on the 1880 Federal Census as a widow and head of household, living with her son-in-law Wm. McCreary, her daughter Mattie Bell, and granddaughter Ada Bell.

By 1900 she moves in with her son William Coburn and his family.  They are still living in Bell, Texas.  She was 79 years old.  I can't find any other records on her after the 1900 Federal Census.

If you have any questions about the information in this post, please leave me a message.  Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Hansel Benton Coburn - b.1817 NC, d.after 1870 TX - Week 34

Hansel Benton Coburn was my 3rd great grandfather.  In April I wrote about his daughter, Hannah Jane Coburn.  I haven't been able to locate much on Hansel, so I'll just go over what I do know.

Hansel was born around 1817 in North Carolina.  Both the 1860 and 1870 Federal Censuses show this.  The first record we see with Hansel's name is his marriage record to Miss Mariam Hannah Barrett in Fayette County, Tennessee on 18 July of 1839.  Mariam was born April 25, 1821, in South Carolina and was the daughter of David Barrett and Elizabeth Whitten.  This marriage record is found on, and it is mentioned in a family bible that was owned by Albert Gallatin Barrett, Mariam's brother.  A copy of that bible can be found here.

The next mention of Hansel is on in their U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s.  Their information is cited from The First Settlers of Houston County, Texas, by Gifford White (St. Louis, MO.: Ingmire Pub., 1983. 35p.).  This states he arrived in Texas in 1840.

I found a Poll Tax List for Houston County for the year 1846, online at Rootsweb.  It isn't a pictured copy of the document, but a transcribed list.  Hansel "Cobern" is listed as one of the residents.

On there is a file called Texas, Index Card Collection, 1800-1900.  In the file, they show a card written for Hansel Coburn.  It states:
Coburn, Hansel
County Commissioner
May 29, 1847
2 - 1/3
Page 68
Houston County

What this exactly means, I'm not sure.  Was Hansel the County Commissioner of Houston County in 1847???  And what does 2 - 1/3 mean?  Could that be the book the information was found?  Something I need to look into when I get the chance.

I can't find Hansel in the 1850 Federal Census, however, I do believe he was living in Houston County.  On the 1860 Federal Census we see him living with his family in Beat 5, Houston County.  In the household was:

  • H. Coburn, 43 years, Farmer, born in North Carolina
  • Mariam Coburn, 39 years, Housewife, born in South Carolina
  • Harriet Coburn, 13 years, born in Texas
  • Jane Coburn, 10 years, born in Texas
  • Margaret Coburn, 3 years, born in Texas
  • Willie Coburn, 1/2 year, born in Texas
  • Louisa Parker, 3 years, born in Texas (not sure who Louisa Parker may be?)
The Non-Population Census of 1860 shows an H. Coburn living in Beat 4 of Houston County.  The census lists the following property for Hansel:

  • 30 Improved acres of land
  • 270 Unimproved acres of land
  • $1,000 Cash value of farm
  • $200 Value of farming implements and machinery
  • 3 Horses
  • 10 Milch Cows
  • 2 Working Oxen
  • 50 Other Cattle
  • 50 Swine
  • $995 Value of livestock
  • 400 Bushels of Indian Corn
  • 5 Bales of Cotton

On January 8, 1863, at the age of 46, Hansel enlisted as a Private in Company B, of the 11th Brigade, at Crockett in Houston County.  His commanding officer was Captain William Wortham.  I'm not an expert on the Civil War, but just a brief online search has led me to believe that the people in this Brigade were considered "Texas State Troopers."  From what I understand, they weren't part of the Confederate Army, but worked under the State of Texas.  Either way, he only enlisted for 3 months.  I'm not sure he ventured outside of Texas.  The info on Hansel can be found on in their Texas, Muster Roll Index Cards, 1838-1900, and in the remarks area it states:
"R&F 83; Enr. & Mus. off. Col. L.W. Cooper; 1 Rifle; Co. std. at Camp Shiloh, Houston Cty., Texas Jan. 8-63; 1 MR dtd. Jan. 8-63."
In June, I was contacted by someone who read my post on Hansel's daughter Hannah Jane Coburn.  They told me Hansel was mentioned 3 times in the journal of James Madison Hall.  The journal just mentions a "Mr. Coburn," but it might be him.  The first entry was dated February 9th, 1864, and mentions he was heading to Magnolia, which is about 100 miles south of Crockett, Houston County, where Hansel may have been living at the time.  On June 18th & 19th, J.M. Hall mentioned "Mr. Coburn" again, this time returning home from Magnolia.

November 20, 1869, Hansel is seen on a voter registration list found on (Texas, Voter Registration Lists, 1867-1869).  He is shown as living in Bell County, Texas at the time.  On this registration, it says he had been a resident of Texas for 29 years (which shows he moved to Texas in 1840), and he had been a resident of Bell County for 2 years.  So he must have moved around 1867.

1870 Federal Census shows Hansel in Beat 3 of Bell County now.  He is living with his wife and two children, Margaret (Maggie), and Willie.  This census also shows Hansel as born in 1817 in North Carolina.

In 1880 we can't find Hansel on the Federal Census, but his wife Mariam is shown as Mrs. M.H. Coburn living in Justice Precinct no. one of Bell County as a widow.  In her house is Wm. McCreary, her son-in-law, Mattie Bell McCreary, her daughter, a grand daughter Ada Bell McCreary, and a boarder named Ewing McCreary.  Hansel must have passed away between 1870 and 1880.

As always, 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!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Sara Jane Patterson 1841-1866 Missouri - Week 33

Copy from Gibson Family Bible.  Copy provided by
my Great Aunt Vicki (Sara Jane's great granddaughter).
This post is dedicated to Sara Jane Patterson, my 3rd great grandmother.  Sara Jane lived a very short life.  She was born August 7, 1841.  From census records, I believe she was the daughter of James Patterson and Sara Ann Thompson.  I haven't found a birth record, so I can't be sure.  But, in 1850, we find a Sara J M Patterson, age 9, living in the household of James Patterson.  The family was living in Madison, Missouri.

Sometime before 1860, Sara Jane's mother, Sara Ann, must have died.  Her father, James, is found remarrying Martha E. Morrow (or Morron) in Ste. Genevieve..

The Patterson family may have been in the Ste. Genevieve area for a while, because, August 15, 1858, Sara Jane Patterson married Herod Gibson.  Two years later, on the 1860 Federal Census, they are both living with Herod's parents, Alexander and Melinda Gibson, in Ste. Genevieve.  Here we see their first child "Francis" or William Francis, who was born February 7th 1860.  Also in the household was James Patterson, age 9.  I believe this might have been Sara Jane's younger brother.

Sara Jane's husband, Herod, is shown to have been on both sides of the Civil War.  First enlisting in the Confederate Army, and later drafted into the Union Army.  You can read more about Herod and his time in service on his post I wrote for Week 6.

Between his time in service with the Confederate and Union Armies, Herod and Sara had 2 more children: Ida Ann born December 17, 1863, and Mary Emma born March 20, 1864.  Unfortunately, Ida Ann died on July 5, 1865, just prior to Herod's discharge.  After he returned, the couple had one more child, Sara Jane born October 19, 1866. However, on October 19, 1866, Sara Jane Patterson Gibson passed away (possibly due to complications of the birth). She lived to be only 25 years old.

In 1980, in DeSoto, Missouri, there was a Gibson family reunion.  There was a wall with different stories posted, the following was one of those posts, by Olive Gibson (Sara Jane's granddaughter):
"Great Grandfather Herod Gibson was in the fields a working and one of the little Gibson children (a girl) was left to watch the baby.  She was sitting before the fireplace, holding the baby, and it tumbled from her lap and rolled into the fireplace and it died."
The infant that died was the youngest, Sara Jane Gibson.  She died November 5, 1867.  She would have been just over one year.  The girl watching her might have been Mary Emma, however, it could have been a Gibson cousin, we just aren't sure.  Mary Emma would have only been 3 years old, so I hesitate to believe she would have been watching her younger sister.

I'm not exactly sure where Sara Jane would have been buried.  The family was in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri before the Civil War, but were living in Central Township, Jefferson County, Missouri in 1870.  Herod, her husband, was buried in the City Cemetery in DeSoto, Jefferson County, but he lived until 1926, 60 years later!  As of today, I haven't found a death record for her.

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!!

52 Ancestors Challenge - Malinda who married Alexander Gibson in South Carolina around 1830 - Week 32

I've had several posts on my Gibson line.  This week I'll continue this line as I discuss my 4th great grandmother Melinda (or Malinda).  I have been unsuccessful in locating a maiden name for Melinda.  The only name I have for her is her married name.

According to the death record I have for Melinda, she lived to be 79 years old.  She died November 12, 1889 at 11:30 am, in DeSoto, Missouri.  If this is correct, then we can determine that she was born in the year 1810.  The record also states that she was born in South Carolina.  Her husband, Alexander, was also believed to be from South Carolina. As of today, I am not able to find who her parents, or Alexander's, parents were.  Still looking into that.

We believe Alexander and Melinda had the following children:
  • William H. born 1832 in South Carolina
  • Margaret or Martha E. born 1834 in Tennessee
  • Herod born 1836 in Tennessee
  • John A. born 1839 in Tennessee
  • James J. born 1841 in Tennessee
  • Jefferson (or Green BJ) born 1843 in Tennessee
We believe Alexander and Melinda were probably married in South Carolina based on census records, and the state listed for the birth of their first child, William.  They must have moved to Tennessee sometime between 1832 and 1834.  They resided in Gibson County, Tennessee according to the 1840 census.

The 1850 Federal Census is the first time we see Melinda's name.  In 1850, the family is shown living in Carroll County, TN, which is next to Gibson County, TN.  But, by 1860, the family had moved about 200 miles to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  According to Melinda's death record, she had been a resident of the state of Missouri for 35 years.  So I'm guessing, the family must have moved around 1854.

Then 1870 Melinda and Alexander are living in Central Township, Jefferson County, Missouri.  Sometime before 1880, Alexander must have passed away.  Melinda is seen on the 1880 census living with Herod, their son, in De Soto, Jefferson County, MO, and listed as a widow.  The 1880 census gives us some additional information about her as well.  It shows where her parents were born.  Her father was born in Pennsylvania, and her mother was born in Maryland.

Melinda is said to be buried next to her son, Herod, in the De Soto City Cemetery.

As always, 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!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Jean Michel Griffard - French and Indian Ancestor - From Ste. Genevieve, Missouri - Week 31

For my previous two posts, I discussed the Griffaw line of my family, my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Griffaw, and her mother, Anne Grissom.  I briefly touched on the fact that I believe the Griffaw name was originally Griffar/Griffard.  It is thought that Jean Michel Griffard is the father of Mary Elizabeth Griffaw and first husband of Anne Grissom.  He is the topic of this weeks post.

As in my previous posts I mentioned the Ste. Genevieve's Project Pioneer.  They honored the Griffard Family in 2001 during their "Jour de Fete," and compiled a genealogical book which showed the family arriving in Ste. Genevieve around the late 1700s from Quebec, Canada.  In this book, it states that Jean Michel Griffard was the son of Jean Alexis Griffard and Marie Madeline (or Magdaleine) Tirard dit St. Jean, and was born September 29, 1780.  Information on Jean Alexis Griffard from the Pioneer book mentioned above says the following (found on page 5):
"Jean Alexis was the only resident of Ste. Genevieve on the militia roster of 1779 listed as a salt maker ("sellier") by profession.  He was French Canadian and came to Ste. Genevieve during the mid 1770's.  In 1777 he married Marie Magdaleine Tirard, daughter of the illegitimate me-tis woman Marie Joseph Deguire Tirard, and took up salt making.  Most likely Alexis left Ste. Genevieve to settle near the Saline.  This is where the salt springs were located.  In 1797 there were only nine salt makers listed on the New Bourbon census, eight were Anglo-Americans, the ninth was the aging but still productive Jean Alexis Griffard.  Since salt was used extensively to cure meat and animal hides for export to New Orleans.  I'm assuming that Jean Alexis and his family traveled back and forth from Ste. Genevieve and New Orleans.  Since Jean Alexis oldest son Alexis was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Elizabeth, another child of Jean Alexis, was born en route from New Orleans and Baptized the following year in Ste. Genevieve.  The spelling of the Griffard name was changed from Greffard to Griffard when Jean Alexis immigrated to Ste. Genevieve.  The spelling Greffard was kept by the Ancestors in Canada because there are Greffards all over Canada and the northern United States.  Jean could write his last name.  He wrote it as Griffar."
According to the book François Vallé and His World: Upper Louisiana Before Lewis and Clark, by Carl J. Ekberg, Jean Michel was baptised in October of 1780, and his godfather was said to be Jean Baptiste Deguire, "of the large and influential Deguire Family" (page 80-81).  The book states that the record shows Jean Baptist Deguire to be Jean Michel's grandfather, but it goes on to say that he is actually his great grandfather, the grandfather of Jean Michel's mother, Marie.  Jean Baptist Deguire was described in the Pioneer book as "a master tailor of Kaskaskia."

In 1810, there is a Michel Greffard listed on a memorial dated December 29, 1805, to the President by the citizens of the District of Ste. Genevieve "expressing their support and confidence in Govenor Wilkinson" (found on U.S. Census Reconstructed Records, 1660-1820).

There is an entry in the 1830 Federal Census for a Michel Grifford living in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  The census picture is very hard to read, but there is something written above his name, however, I can't make it out and it wasn't transcribed on the listing on  In his household Ancestry has it transcribed as one male under the age of 5, one male age 20-29, 2 females age 5-10, and one female age 20-29.  If you look at the actual document, even though it's hard to read, it looks like the older male is actually 50-59 years old.  This would make sense, especially if this is the same Jean Michel Griffard in the Pioneer book, who was born September 29, 1780.

The children I have listed for Jean Michel were mentioned in my previous posts, but here is a picture showing the names that were given to me:

I haven't been able to find any additional information on Jean Michel Griffard.  However, the Pioneer book states that he died January 1, 1836, almost a year after his youngest child, Anne, was born.

An Interesting Side Note About Jean Michel Griffard's Maternal Grandmother:

Although this post is about Jean Michel, I would like to highlight an interesting story about his mother, or actually his mother's mother, and there family line, since I don't plan on doing individual posts for them.  The information on Marie and her family was taken from the book François Vallé and His World: Upper Louisiana Before Lewis and Clark, by Carl J. Ekberg as well.  Marie's mother, Marie Joseph Deguire, was the illegitimate daughter of Jean Baptiste Deguire and an Indian slave who was owned by Joseph Buchet, a Notary at Fort de Charters.  The book cites the following on page 81:
Very rarely in the society of colonial Ste. Genevieve did a man live to serve as godfather to his great-grandson.  When Deguire died less than a year later, Father Gibault noted in his burial record that Jean-Baptiste had “always lived a most Christian life.”  Indeed, either out of Christian charity or from a moral compass aligned by some other code of values (probably the former), he had acknowledged paternity of his illegitimate métisse daughter and conveyed to her his name.  When he died without legitimate issue, Marie-Joseph inherited Deguir’s entire estate as sole heiress.
In another book, Dictionary of Missouri Biography, edited by Lawrence O. Christensen, William E. Foley, and Gary Kremer, (page 237), It goes on to state that in "1747 Deguire paid Buchet one hundred livres "to redeem" two of his natural children borne by one of Buchet's slaves."  Marie Joseph Deguire went on to marry 3 times before she died in 1788.  Not only did Marie Joseph Deguire, an "illegitimate metisse daugher" inherit her father's entire estate, but she also inherited the estates of 2 of her husbands who preceded her in death.

I felt that was something that should be mentioned, and interesting information about the ancestors of Jean Michel Griffard.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Mary Elisabeth Griffaw - born 1821 in Perry County, Missouri - Week 29

Mary Elisabeth Griffaw was my great, great, great grandmother.  She was born November 27, 1821 probably around Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.  Back in 2003, my Great Aunt Vickie sent some papers to my mom.  They were copies of things she received at the Gibson family reunion in De Soto, Missouri.  Below, is a copy of a page that showed Mary Elisabeth Griffaw and her 4 siblings written on a piece of paper.

Here, the last name looks to be spelled Griffar.  Doing research on this family, I've also seen it spelled Griffard, Griffon, Griffan, and Gorfard.  This line of ancestors were not well educated.  Censuses show many could not read or write, so to have the name misspelled would not surprise me.  In fact, when researching the name Griffaw on, I could not find it until the 1880s, and then only in southeast Missouri, where this line is from.

Ste. Genevieve's Project Pioneer honors two family lines each year during their "Jour de Fete."  In 2001
they honored the Griffard family who came to the area around the 1780s from Quebec, Canada.  In the book they created for this family, they show all 5 names listed above.  In this book it says the parents of these children were Jean Michel Griffard and Anne Grissom.  I'm not sure where their information comes from, there are no references in the book (I do have a copy in hand).  However, I do know that Mary Elisabeth's mother's name is Anne (also shown as Ann, Annie, and Anna).

There is an entry in the 1830 Federal Census for a Michel Grifford living in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  The census picture is very hard to read, but there is something written above his name, however, I can't make it out and it wasn't transcribed on the listing on  In his household Ancestry has it transcribed as one male under the age of 5, one male age 20-29, 2 females age 5-10, and one female age 20-29.  If you look at the actual document, even though it's hard to read, it looks like the older male is actually 50-59 years old.  This would make sense, especially if this is the same Jean Michel Griffard in the Pioneer book.  Church Baptismal records list him as being born September 29, 1780.

The first document were we see Mary Elisabeth's name is a marriage record dated June 25, 1840 in Bois Bruel, Perry County, Missouri.  She married Hezekiah Cotner.  Hezekiah was the son of Jacob Cotner and Elizabeth Lewis who lived in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.

I also believe she was living in the household of Nathaniel J. Divine during the 1840 census.  Her mother married Nathaniel in 1836, after the death of her father.  The ages of the children in the household match the ages of the children written above.  The family was living in Perry County, Missouri.

The 1850 Federal Census, we are able to finally see Mary Elisabeth's name along with her family.  They are living in Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri.  The following people are shown in the household:

  • Hezekiah Cotner age 39
  • Mary Cotner age 28
  • Nathaniel J. Cotner age 9
  • Martha Cotner age 6
  • Michael Cotner age 3
  • Susannah A. Cotner age 1
Not far from them is her mother, brother John and sister Ann.  her mother is listed as Ann Davis.  Nathaniel J. Divine died sometime before 1844, when she married Spencer B.R. Davis.

In 1860, the family moves to Liberty Township, St. Francois County, Missouri.  Here we see the following shown on the Federal Census for this year:
  • Hezekiah Cotner age 48
  • Mary Cotner age 37
  • Martha Cotner age 14
  • Mida Cotner age 11
  • Mary Cotner age 7 
  • Hezekiah Cotner age 1
I'm not sure what happened to Nathaniel and Micheal.  They may have died between 1850 and 1860.  I believe Mida is Susannah A., possibly short for Arminda?  The younger Hezekiah was actually Isaac Hezekiah.

By 1870, we do not see Hezekiah.  I believe he may have died sometime prior to the 1870 Federal Census.  In the household, we see the following people living in Marion, St. Francois County, Missouri:
  • Mary Cotner age 46
  • Mary E. Cotner age 16
  • Isaac Cotner age 11
  • Louisa Cotner age 9
I'm not sure what happened to Martha.  She may have married and moved away, or may have died as well.  Louisa is my great, great grandmother, Louisa Nancy Carolyn Cotner (you can read about her and her husband and children in the post I did earlier about her husband William Francis Gibson).

By 1880, the family moved to Plattin, Jefferson County, Missouri.  Here it states Mary is a widow.  Mary Elizabeth Cotner (daughter of Mary Elisabeth Griffaw) had married James Gibson, and her mother, brother Isaac and sister Louisa were living next to them.  On a side note, James Gibson was the uncle of Louisa's husband, William Francis Gibson.  In the household we see:
  • Mary Cotner age 50
  • Isaac Cotner age 20
  • Louisa Cotner age 16
The ages on these census records are always different!

By 1900, after all her children had married, she moved in with her brother John.  John never married, and I believe he owned a farm in Plattin.  I believe this, because in the papers my Great Aunt Vickie gave my mother, there were some notes from Betty Tracy Thayer, daughter of Emma Clyde Gibson, Granddaughter of Louisa Cotner.  In it Betty wrote about a fond memory her mother, Emma had:
"She (Emma) recalled the times when she was a child that her father would rent a carriage (rig) with horses, and they would all pile in it, kids and mother and father, and drive out to the "Plattin" to her grandfather and grandmother Cotner's farm for the day, she said it was "great fun."

John would have been her great uncle, not her grandfather, but grandmother Cotner would have been correct.

After 1900, I'm not sure what happened to her.  I haven't been able to locate a death record, and she is not located on the 1910 census that I know of.  Her daughter, Louisa, passed away in 1904 of "Consumption," or Tuberculosis.  Louisa's husband died also that same year from the disease.

Mary's daughter, Mary E. Cotner Gibson, along with her brother, John Baptiste Joseph Griffaw, and mother, Anne Grissom Griffaw Divine Davis, were all buried at Charter Baptist Church Cemetery in Festus, Jefferson County, Missouri.  Maybe that is where she would have been buried too?  I'll have to make a trip down there to see.  It's on my very long list of places to go and research.

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

52 Ancestors Challenge - Anne Grissom Griffaw Divine Davis lived to be 104 years?? - Week 30

My last post was on Mary Elisabeth Griffaw.  This week, I'm going to talk about her mother, Anne Grissom.

In the Charter Baptist Church Cemetery is a headstone for Anna Griffaw, who died at age 104.  I believe this is the grave of my 4th great grandmother.  The stone says she was 104 years old when she died in 1885!!  The record of her death is also found on Missouri Digital Heritage, you can see it here (the original can be seen on, if you have a subscription, look up Annie Griffaw under the database Missouri death records, 1834-1910).  I have a newspaper clipping regarding the death of her son, John Baptiste Joseph Griffaw, written around August of 1920.  In the clipping, it states that his mother lived to be 104 too.  But is that correct?  They may have just copied what was on the headstone or death record.  Every census record I have found on her says otherwise.  Death records aren't always right, and tombstones aren't always right either.  For now, I'll just fill you in on what I do know, and where I received my information.

Newspaper clipping on the death of John Baptiste Joseph Griffaw.  Not sure which paper it came from, but someone wrote August 1920 on it.  This copy was given to my mother from her Aunt Vickie.  John was not our great grandfather, as it was written above.  From family notes, it is said the children of William Gibson and Nancy Louise Carolyn Cotner would travel out to visit their "grandparents" on their farm in Plattin.  Their grandmother, Mary Elisabeth Griffaw Cotner was a widow by the time they were born, and was living with her brother John, their great uncle in Plattin.
I don't have any true proof stating Anne's maiden name was Grissom (i.e. birth record, marriage record, etc.), so I can't be sure.  I do have a copy of a family history book that was completed by the Ste. Genevieve Project Pioneer on the Griffard family that settled there around the 1780s.  In that book, it states "Jean Michel Griffard married Anne Grissom.  She was born 1804."  It also states the names of their children along with their birth dates.  These children were the same children written on a piece of paper I received from my mom, who received it from her Aunt Vickie back in 2003.

Back in 2003, my Gibson family had a reunion back in De Soto, Missouri.  I wasn't able to attend, but my Great Aunt Vickie sent my mom some copies of paperwork from the event.  One of those papers was a list of children and their birth dates.  No mention of a mother or father though.  Here is a copy of that paper.

Where this came from, I'm not sure.  But the first name is indeed the name of my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Elisabeth Griffaw.  Mary Elisabeth married a man named Hezekiah Cotner, a man of German decent whose family settled in the Cape Girardeau and St. Francois county areas of Missouri in the early 1800s.  Together, they had my 2nd great grandmother, Louisa Nancy Carolyn Cotner.  I've written briefly about Nancy in an earlier post that was about her husband William Francis Gibson.  There you can see a picture of Louisa and William.

I'll start by saying, I'm not sure where Ste. Genevieve Project Pioneer received their information.  There are no references for any of it.  So, this hunt is a work in progress.

The first census document we see with the Jean Michel Griffard family may be found in 1830.  On, we find an entry for a Michael Grifford, or Michael Griffard, living in Ste. Genevieve City, Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.  In his household there was one male under 5, one male, age 50-60, 2 females age 5-9, and one female age 29-29.  If you go to the next page, it clearly says there are 5 people in the household.  Above his name something was written, but I can not read it.  It is too faint to see on the online copy.

I believe this is the family of Jean Michel Griffard.  He was born in 1780, which puts him at about 50 years old.  His birth is well documented in church records, and in several book that I have seen (more about him in a future post).  If Anne was born in 1804, then she would have been about 26.  Mary Elisabeth and Susan Mary would have been 9 and 6.  Finally, Micheal would have been 4, so under the age of 5.

According to the information found in the family book by Ste. Genevieve Project Pioneer, we see Jean Michel Griffard dies January 1, 1836 in Ste. Genevieve.  I'm hoping there is a record of this somewhere, but again, I don't have that record.  So I'm not 100% sure of this.  But I do know there is a record for a marriage for "Mrs. Ann Griffan" to Nathaniel Divine in the neighboring county of Perry, Missouri, on July 18, 1836.  In addition, Anne's daughter, Mary Elisabeth, named her first born son Nathaniel J. Cotner.  Could she have named him after her stepfather??  There are no other Nathaniels that I can find in the family.

Later, in the 1840 Federal Census, we see a Nathaniel Divine living in Perry County, Missouri with the following people living in the household (the actual ages of the Griffard family in 1840 are in parenthesis - they are not listed on the census, I'm just making a comparison):

  • one male age 5-9 (John Baptiste Joseph Griffard age 9)
  • one male age 10-14 (Michael Griffard age 14)
  • one male age 40-49 (Nathaniel Divine)
  • one female age 5-9 (Ann Griffard age 5)
  • two females age 15-19 (Mary Elisabeth Griffard age 19 and Susan Mary Griffard age 16)
  • one female age 30-39 (Anne Grissom Griffard Divine age 36 if born i 1804)
February 26, 1844 there is another marriage record that I believe belongs to our Anne.  It shows Ann Divine married Spencer B.R. Davis in Perry County, Missouri (info from, Missouri Marriages to 1850).  Nathaniel Divine must have died between 1840 and 1844.  Spencer B.R. Davis may have died not long after the marriage too.  Because in 1850, we find and Anne Davis living with John B. Griffan (or Griffau) and Ann Griffan (or Griffau) in Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri.  Not far from them are Mary Elisabeth and her husband Hezekiah Cotner with their family.

I have searched high and low to find the family on the 1860 Federal Census, but haven't been able to yet.  We do find Anne on the 1870 Federal Census though.  She is now living in Plattin Township, Jefferson County, Missouri, and listed as Anna Griffaw age 50.  Her son John is living with her.  The ages for her and John are not correct.  But it says they were both born in Missouri.  It also says both of her parents were of foreign birth.  Notice too, she is using the last name of Griffaw, not Davis.  

In 1880 we find Anne and John both living in Plattin still.  This time, John's age is listed as 30 years old, and Anne is listed as 65.  John is now listed as head of household, and Anne listed as his mother.  Her place of birth is now listed as Kentucky, with her father being born in Virginia and mother born in Pennsylvania.  They are both listed as having the last name of Griffaw.  

On April 20, 1885, the death of Annie Griffaw was reported.  On this death record (which can be found on, Missouri Death Records 1834-1910) it states she died March 12, 1884.  Did they really wait a year to report it?  Her tombstone, which you can see here at, says she died March 14, 1885.  So which is it?  The number 4, on 1884, is underlined in the record.

This death record also says she was 104 years old.  Would that be right?  It also states she was a widow, of Irish decent, and born in Kentucky.  The record says she had been living in Missouri for 90 years, and died at her son John Griffaw's residence in Plattin Township.  Cause of death was Angina Pectoris.  She was buried at Charter Cemetery (now Charter Baptist Church Cemetery in Festus, Jefferson County, Missouri) March 14, 1885.  So she probably did die in 1885, not 1884 like the other part of the record states.

If Anne was 104 in 1885, she would have been born in 1781.  Which means she would have been 54 years old when her youngest daughter, Ann, was born.  Not impossible, but I'm not buying it!!  I'm guessing she was born around the early 1800s.

I've done a little research on the last name of Grissom, trying to find any family she may have had living nearby.  There was a Nelson Grissom living in Perry County in 1840, 1850, and 1860.  He was born in Kentucky about 1804.  Could they be related?  I haven't found a link.  There are a few Grissom families residing in Kentucky in the early 1800s.  I'm still looking into a connection, but I know I may never find it.

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - William H. Ross 1841-1916 Missouri - Week 28

Week 28 is about William H. Ross.  According to, William was born February 23, 1841.  Where he was born, I'm not sure.  I have conflicting information.  A few people have posted online that he was born in Cane Creek, Missouri.  His daughter, Martha Jane Ross Hopson Tracy, has that he was born in Missouri on her death certificate.  The 1850 Federal Census shows he was born in Missouri as well.  However, looking into later censuses, we find in 1900 it says he was born in Indiana and so were his parents.  But by 1910 it states he was born in Illinois, but it was unknown where his parents were born.

Speaking of William's parents, who were they?  I've seen online that some have his father listed as Thomas Ross, but I haven't seen any proof.  The 1850 Federal Census has William, who is age 9, living with another William who is age 60.  Could this older William be his father?  There are no relationships shown in the 1850 census, so we just don't know.

Tracking William's moves with the censuses, we can see where he lived and who he lived with (documents found on

1850 Federal Census
Living in District 77, Ripley County, Missouri
People living in household:
  • William Ross, male, age 60 born in Connecticut, occupation is farming
  • Lorenso Ross, male, age 19 born in Missouri, occupation is farming
  • Jinnetta Ross, female, age 17 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • Calvin Ross, male, age 14 born in Georgia possibly (hard to read initials), no occupation
  • William Ross, male, age 9 born in Missouri, no occupation
1860 Federal Census
Living in Kelly Township, Ripley County, Missouri
Local Post Office is listed as Doniphan (this will come up again)
People living in household:
  • C.N. (Claiborne) Kidd, male, age 30 born in Tennessee, occupation is farmer
  • C. Kidd, female, age 23 born in Illinois, occupation is domestic
  • Martha Kidd, female, age 13 born in Tennessee, no occupation
  • Nancy Kidd, female, age 11 born in Tennessee, no occupation
  • C. Kidd, male, age 5 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • Jas Lee, male, age 14 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • S.A. Lee, female, age 11 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • C. Lee, female, age 4 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • William Ross, male, age 19 born in Illinois, occupation is farmer
  • Mary Jane Ross, female, age 15 born in Tennessee, no occupation
I haven't been able to find the marriage record for William and Mary Jane, but the 1910 Federal Census shows they were married about 1860.

We know from family tradition that William Ross fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy.  Family stories state he and his son-in-law, Harmon Augusta Tracy, who fought for the North, used to try tripping each other with their canes (Harmon was about 7 years older then William).  I have had trouble finding him in Civil War records.  There are too many with the same name.  However, browsing through, I found a Civil War record for Private William Ross of the 9th Missouri Infantry, Company H.  They show this William Ross was captured by the North in Little Rock, Arkansas on May 12, 1863.  With these records is a letter written on January 11th, 1865 stating his Oath of Allegiance to the United States.  This entire letter can be seen on, if you have a subscription.  It says the following:
"I Wm. Ross a private of Company H 9th Missouri Infy would respectfully represent that I was Conscripted in the Rebel Service in August, 1862, at Doniphan Missouri, I was forced into the Rebel Army against my free will and consent,...I voluntarily surrendered to the 6th Missouri Calvary at Little Rock Arkansas the 12th May 1863, in order to avail myself of the Amnesty Proclamation..."
I feel certain this may be the same William.  The link is that he enlisted at Doniphan, which was the post office location for his household on the 1860 Federal Census.  However, I have one hang up.  His daughter Martha Jane was born March 30, 1864.  His wife would have had to become pregnant right before he was captured, and have given birth late (pregnancy would have lasted about 45 weeks).  Could he have been able to go home at some point?  I can not say with 100% certainty that we have the same person.

The 1870 Federal Census, I can not find.  Not sure where they could have been living.  So we'll pick up with the 1880 Federal Census.

1880 Federal Census
Living on Third Street in De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri
People living in household:
  • William Ross, head of household, male, age 38 born in Illinois, parents born in Indiana, occupation is a Locomotive Fireman
  • Mary J. Ross, wife,  female, age 34 born in Tennessee, parents born in Tennessee, occupation is keeping house
  • Mattie Ross, daughter, female, age 16 born in Missouri, occupation is at home
By the 1900 Federal Census, they were living at 410 Stone Street, in Valle Township, City of De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  Their daughter, Martha, was not listed on the census with William and Mary Jane, but 3 of her children from her first marriage were:  William H. (Willie), Ivie, and Myrtle Hopson.  They are also showing on the 1900 census living with their mother and her 2nd husband Harmon Augusta Tracy.  They may have lived at both places.

In 1910, William and Mary Jane were still living in Valle Township, City of De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  He was still showing as an engineer for the locomotive.  This census shows how many children they had.  Next to Mary's name it says they had 2 children, and 1 was living.  I'm guessing one of their children must have died before 1880.

February 14, 1915, William's wife, Mary Jane Kidd Ross, died of "Valvular Heart Disease."  She was 70 years old.  The certificate states they were living on Stone Street near 3rd Street in De Soto.  She was buried at the City Cemetery in De Soto.

A little over a year later, William passed away too.  He was in the Missouri Pacific Railroad Hospital at 1600 California Ave., in St. Louis, Missouri prior to his death.  His age was 78 years old.  The certificate, found on Missouri Digital Heritage: Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1963, shows his occupation was a "Hustler Tending to the Engineer for the Missouri Pacific Railroad Co."  He was buried next to his wife in the De Soto City Cemetery.  You can see their tombstone here on

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!!

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Martha Jane Ross 1863-1933 Missouri - Week 27

Picture of Martha Jane Ross
Well, I've been MIA these past few weeks.  Summer has taken me outside and away from the computer.  I'm about a month behind with this challenge, I think...I've lost track!!  Back to it!!

I'm dedicating this post to my great, great grandmother Martha Jane Ross.  From information I was given, Martha was born in Ripley County, Missouri.  Not sure where this information came from, so I'm not 100% sure it's accurate.  According to her death certificate, she was born March 30, 1864.  She was the daughter of William H. Ross and Mary Jane Kidd.  I am not able to find the family in the 1870 Federal Census, so I am not able to see if Martha had any siblings (according to the 1910 census showing William and Mary Jane, it states she had 2 children, but only 1 was living).

The family can be seen in the 1880 Federal Census living in De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  In the household is William, Mary Jane, and Martha, or Mattie as her name is written.

Martha was first married to John Hopson.  Martha and John had 4 children together:
  • Willie born 1881
  • Ivy born 1882
  • Myrtle born 1884
  • Lester born 1890
I believe the two were married November 2, 1880 in St. Louis, Missouri.  This was information given to me by another family member, but I can not find proof of the marriage, so I'm not 100% sure it is correct.  I was also told Martha and John divorced in 1889 in Jefferson County, Missouri.  Again, I have not seen the paperwork, so I'm not certain of this date.

I do know that Martha married for a second time to Harmon Augusta Tracy on November 14, 1896 in Jefferson County, Missouri.  This can be found in the Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002 on  Martha was Harmon's 3rd wife (possibly 4th).  Together the two had 7 children:
  • Paul who died in infancy
  • Luke who died in infancy
  • William Mark born 1897
  • Minnie born 1899
  • Arbelle, or Orville, born 1902
  • Grace born 1904
  • Byron Earl born 1906
Here is a funny story given to me about Martha's father William and her husband Harmon:
Martha's father, William Ross, was about 7 years younger then his son-in-law, Harmon (William Ross was born about 1841 and Harmon was born in 1834).  They both fought in the Civil War, William fought for the South and Harmon for the North.  At one point, the two were living in the same household, and it is said "they would use their canes and try to trip each other as they walked by."
The pictures in this post are of Martha and various family members.  These copies were given to me by my mother, who received them from her aunt.  I'm not sure who is in the photo with her, or when and where they were taken.

The family can be found in the 1900 Federal Census living in De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  In the house is Martha and Harmon, along with 2 of Harmon's children from his second marriage, Olive and Matthew, Harmon and Martha's children, Mark and Minnie, and Martha's 4 children from her first marriage, Willie, Ivy, Myrtle, and Lester.  Looks like they had a full house!!

In 1910, the family is still living in De Soto.  Mark, Minnie, Orville, and Grace are the children living with them...not sure where Byron is (1910 Federal Census found on

Then, after 1910, Harmon left the family to go visit his daughter, Olive, in Arkansas.  He never made it back.  Harmon died on May 17, 1919 in Memphis, Tennessee, supposedly on his daughter's houseboat (Olive's husband was a ferry boat owner).  Harmon was buried at the Memphis National Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1920, we can find Martha along with Orville, Grace, and Byron living on Hickory Street, in St. Louis Ward 15, St. Louis County, Missouri.  The 1920 Federal Census shows Martha as a widow.

On the 1930 Federal Census, we see her still living in St. Louis, but this time on Monroe Street.  She was listed as a "lodger," renting a room from Julian and Sophia Lesvicki.

Martha Jane Ross Hopson Tracy died September 25, 1933.  Her death certificate can be found online through Missouri Digital Heritage, Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1963.  She was living at 3403 North Broadway, in the City of St. Louis.  She is listed as 69 years, 5 months, and 26 days.  Her son Byron was the informant.

I'm not sure which cemetery she would have been buried in.  Under "Burial, Cremation, or Removal," it says "De Soto Sept. 27, 1933."  The Undertaker is listed as E.J. Schnur, at 3125 Lafayette Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri.  One day, maybe I will find out where she was buried.

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, July 14, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Wilhelm Grote - Celle, Germany - Week 26

I've been slacking when it comes to this 52 Ancestors Challenge lately.  I'm finding it hard to make the time, and concentrate, while my children are home from school.  So much more to do with them home everyday, but its all fun!!  So this is a bit late, but better late then never!!
For week 26, I've decided to write about my great, great, great, grandfather, Wilhelm Grote.  For years I've been looking for him, not knowing if he died in Germany or came to the U.S. with his wife Auguste Rheinfels.  I had no birth date to go off of either, just the entry on his daughter's birth certificate that she was born in Celle, Germany. 
Well, earlier this week, I did another google search (as I tend to do from time to time), and searched for "Genealogy records Celle, Germany."  This time, I found a link to a familysearch Wiki post at  On this page it talks about Village Lineage Books, "locally compiled books...extracted from parish registers."  I clicked on the link listed and it directed me to  I've been to this website before, but most of it is in German and my German isn't all that good, so I easily give up.
Playing around, I scrolled down to the Niedersachsen villages to see what I could find.  I knew the family was from the Celle area, but what actual village, I wasn't sure.  As I clicked through a few, I then looked up the surnames of Grote and Rheinfels, along with a couple others I knew were related to them.  Finally, I clicked on the area of Celle Süd-Ost, found the surname Grote, and looked at the very long list of Grotes.  I clicked on a few, but when I clicked on the name Carl Heinrich Wilhelm Grote I noticed his wife's name was Henriette Wilhelmine Auguste Rheinfels.  Could it be???  They show a daughter named Auguste Caroline Wilhelmine Henriette Grote born 24 December 1867.  I immediately pulled up my tree to compare, and sure was the same birth date!!  Auguste Rheinfels birth date is about the same too!  Her info on this website says she was born 28 August 1835, the same date I have that was based off her death certificate!!

So I'm very sure these are the same people.  However, because this is a secondary source, I hesitate to say I'm 100% sure.  I need to track down the actual records to verify it all.  But with these village books, I now have hope that these records do still exist!!

If we can safely assume these entries are correct, then this Grote family can be traced all the way back to the early 1700s!  All living in the same village too!

So who is Wilhelm Grote?

Based on the findings from this "Familiendatenbank Celle Süd-Ost Familienbericht," or Local Family Database Celle Süd-Ost Family Report, we know the following:
  • Carl Heinrich Wilhelm Grote was born the 25th of August 1833 (same birth date as my dad...just 117 years earlier) in Bröckel, Germany.
  • His parents were Carsten Heinrich Grote and Dorothea Elisabeth Schepelmann.
  • He had at least 9 brothers and sisters:
    • Sophie Elisabeth
    • Sophie Caroline
    • Friederike Elisabeth
    • Carsten Heinrich
    • Heinrich Wilhelm
    • Heinrich Christian
    • Heinrich Christian (two with the same name, the first died before the second was born)
    • Marie Dorothea
    • Caroline Friederike
  • Wilhelm married Henriette Wilhelmine Auguste Rheinfels the 22 of April 1864 in Weinhausen, Celle, Germany.
  • They had at least 4 children that I know of:
    • Heinrich Friederich Wilhelm
    • Auguste Caroline Wilhelmine Henriette (my great, great grandmother)
    • Caroline Marie Auguste
    • Herman (he isn't listed on this website, but was born about 1877 and is listed on his sister's obituary).
  • We don't know for sure when or where he died.  His wife is listed on the "Chicago, Illinois, City Directory, 1897" on's "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989." She is listed as the widow of Wilhelm, and living at 585 Larrabee. Her son Herman is shown as living at the same address in this directory.  So we know he died prior to 1897.  The 1900 census also lists Auguste as coming to the U.S. in 1887, although, I haven't been able to find her on any ship manifest yet.  I'm guessing he might have died in Germany, but can't be sure.
It's safe to say I was very excited to find this new information!!  It has consumed most of my free time over the last week!  If you would like to see Wilhelm and his family in this database, just click here on, and it should take you there.  If you'd like to read more about his wife, Auguste, she was the focus of my week 18 post.

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 I have. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 23, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Robert P. Miles - Georgia to Alabama - Week 25

Signature of Robert P. Miles, found in probate
paperwork for Absalom Jackson's estate (his father-in-law).
Copy found in probate file, in
Chambers County Estates Box 16, Folder 43
It may be hard to read, but this is the signature of my 4th great grandfather, Robert P. Miles.  His signature was found on some probate papers in the estate of his father-in-law, Absalom Jackson.  The paper it is from is very hard to read, but I believe it has something to do with the sale of some property that Absalom owned.  The page is dated in the year 1840, and has the signatures, or marks, of each of his unwed daughters and the husbands of his married daughters.

Robert P. Miles was born around 1799, probably in Georgia.  I speculate he was born somewhere around Hancock County, GA.  His father is thought to be John Miles and was on the tax rolls of Hancock County, GA from 1895-1805.  There is a book that discusses John Miles called Your Inheritance, Vol. II, by Robbie Lee Gillis Ross, Matthews, NC, Delmar Print Co., 1972 (pages 231-236).  In the book it states John Miles was a Commissioner from Montpelier, and was a Justice of the Peace for Baldwin County, GA.  John's wife, and Robert's mother, is said to be Margaret (Peggy) Warren. 

According to this same book, Robert P. Miles had one draw in the Third Lottery Act of 1820, set up by the Georgia Legislature.  This can also be seen in the Historical Collections of the Georgia Chapters, Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume IV, Back Matter on if you have a subscription.  If you don't have a subscription, a copy of the index is found at USGenWeb.  His name can be seen in Ellis' District.

Robert is next found in the will of his father, John.  John left his son a slave named Daniel, a feather bed, and furniture.  I find the idea of having another human being as part your property reprehensible, but this was common in the south at this time.  It is sad what these people had to endure, and my heart goes out to them.

A large part of John's estate was left to his wife, Peggy.  When she died in 1826, it was divided to their children.  At her death, the estate had 18 additional slaves.  These slaves were divided up into Lots of 2 each.  Each heir of the estate drew a lot.  Robert drew lot number 7, which meant he was given 2 slaves by the names Sucky and Selilia, which were appraised at $450 together.  You can find these papers on Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990, Baldwin County, Returns 1813-1831, page 139 in the book, but page 493 of 664 of the digital copies.

I'm unsure where Robert was living in 1830, but by 1833 he is shown marrying Palmira Jackson in Meriwether County, GA.  Palmira Jackson was the daughter of Absalom Jackson, who was living in Meriwether County, Ga when the 1830 census was taken.

Marriage record of Robert P. Miles and Palmira Jackson May 16, 1833, Meriwether Co., GA
Image found on, "Georgia, County Marriages, 1785-1950"
Robert and Palmira had 9 children that we know of.  They are as follows:
  • Elizabeth b.1834, d.after 1891 - married John H.M. Vines
  • Lucinda b. 1835, d.1908 - married William M. Beckett
  • Margaret (Maggie) b.1839, d. 1917 - married Holland Middleton Bell
  • Matilda Ann b.1840, d. 1857 - married William Green Stowe
  • Absalom Jackson b.1841, d.1862 - never married
  • John W. b.1841, d.1918 - married Victoria P. West
  • Alevia b.1844, d.unknown - don't believe she ever married, can't find her after 1880 though
  • Robert Paul b.1847, d.1930 - Married Monica Bell (sister of Holland M. Bell)
  • William H. b.1849, d.1918 - never married
 In 1840, there is a R. Miles living in Huey's District, No. 3, Harris County, GA, according to the 1840 Federal Census.  In the household it shows the following members:
1 male age 20-29; 2 females under the age of 5; 2 females age 5-9; 1 female age 30-39; 1 male slave under the age of 10; and 1 female slave age 10-23
We can assume the  male and older female are Robert and Palmira, however, the age of Robert would be incorrect.  The two females under the age of 5 could be Matilda Ann and Margaret, while the two other females could have been Elizabeth and Lucinda.  It's unknown whether the older female slave could have been Sucky or Selilia.  The male slave under the age of 10 would have been too young to have been Daniel, so I'm not sure what his name was.

In 1843, Robert Miles can be found in Harris County, in the Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892, found on  He is located in the Dagnol District.  I can't quite make out what each item is they listed, but I can see he still had 2 slaves in his household.

The 1850 Federal Census has been frustrating for me.  I have looked and looked for this family in this census, but cannot find them anywhere.  It's quite possible they were still in Harris County, GA, but on May 1, 1849, there was a land grant recorded for a Robert Miles of Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  This can be found on as well in the U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907. The following piece of land is shown in the grant:
"The North East quarter of the North West quarter of Section Twenty Eight in Township Twenty Three of Range Twenty Four, East, in the District of Lands Subject to Sale at Montgomery Alabama containing forty Acres and eight and a half hundredths of an Acre."
We also know that his oldest daughter, Elizabeth Miles (my 3rd great grandmother), was married in Tallapoosa County, AL on February 13, 1849, to John H.M. Vines.  You can see the marriage details here on  It is my assumption, that the family had moved to Tallapoosa County, AL by this time.

We can't find the family in the 1850 census, but Alabama had a state census in 1855.  On in the Alabama State Census, 1820-1866 records, we see a Robert Miles living in Beat 13.  In the household, it shows the following:
4 males under 21; 1 male over 21; 4 females under 21; 1 female over 21; and 2 slaves.
The families time was short in Tallapoosa County.  By 1860, the family can be found in Fayette County, Alabama.  The 1860 Federal Census shows the family living in East District, Fayette Co., AL.  The surname is spelled Myles and it shows Robert as age 60, occupation a farmer, value of real estate as $2,000, value of personal estate of $1,500, and he was born in Georgia.  The people living in his household are as follows: Palmira, Margaret, John, Absalom, Aleva, Robert, William, Green Stoe, Wm. C. Manases, Sarah A. Manases, Davens J. Manases, James H. Manases, and Dorphus Manases.  I don't think the Manases family was related to the Miles, but "Green Stoe" is actually William Green Stowe, Robert's widowed son-in-law.  He was married to Matilda Ann Miles on September 9, 1856, and she died December 27, 1857 in Tallapoosa County.  She probably died in childbirth, and is buried with their son Robert A. Stowe.

We can also see Robert in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedule on  He is shown having 2 slaves in his household and one slave house.  One is listed as a female age 30, while the other is listed as a male.  The age of the male is hard to read.  The person who indexed this typed in 29 years, but I think it looks more like 21 years.  Either way, there is a mark next to the male, which means he was a "fugitive of the state."  What that might mean, I'm not sure.  Did he run away?  Attempt to get his freedom?  The ages show they could be the same two that were living in the household in 1840 as well.

Robert Miles can also be found in the Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedule for the year 1860.  He is shown with the following for his farm:
  • Acres of land improved: 135, unimproved: 425
  • Cash value of farm: $200
  • Value of Farming Implements and Machinery: $20
  • Livestock on June 1, 1860
    • Horses: 4
    • Milch Cows: 4
    • Working Oxen: 2
    • Other Cattle: 3
    • Swine: 40
    • Value of Livestock: $775
  • Bushels of Wheat: 100
  • Bushels of Rye: 20
  • Bushels of Indian Corn: 1,000
  • Ginned Cotton Bales of 400 lbs each: 18
The Civil War then came and brought a lot of changes to the Miles family.  At least three of Robert and Palmira's sons, and their son-in-law, went off to war.  Only two returned.  Their son Absalom Jackson Miles died of sickness near Richmond, VA, and their daughter, Elizabeth's, husband John H.M. Vines died of sickness in Mississippi.  Their son John Miles was injured, but made it back home.

The 1866 Alabama State Census found on shows the family living in Fayette County still.  There is a total of 14 people living in the household.  This would be Robert, Palmira, John, Alevia, Robert Jr., William, and their widowed daughter Elizabeth Miles Vines along with Elizabeth's 7 children: Mary Ann, Nancy Elizabeth, Lucinda, Susan, Matilda, Robert Javis, and George W.  This census also contains an area to mark whether anyone in the household was killed in the war, died of sickness, or disabled.  In Robert's household they have marked 2 for died of sickness and 1 for disabled.  The 2 that died were Absalom and John H.M. Vines, while the disabled soldier, I believe was John.

In 1870, we see Robert, age 71 years now.  He is still living in Fayette County, according to the 1870 Federal Census, he is in Township 17.  In his household were his wife, Palmira, and two of their children, Alevia and William.  Next to them on the census is their daughter Elizabeth with 5 of her children.  Her oldest daughter Mary Ann Melvina Vines was married by this time and living in Tallapoosa with her husband, Jonathan Beckett.  Elizabeth's daughter, Nancy Elizabeth was living with Mary Ann and her family too.

Another Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedule was done in 1870 as well, and can be found on  There is an R.P. Miles listed on it with the following:
  • Acres of land improved: 100, unimproved: 564
  • Cash value of farm: $200
  • Value of Farming Implements and Machinery: $10
  • Livestock on June 1, 1870
    • Horses: 2
    • Milch Cows: 5
    • Working Oxen: 2
    • Other Cattle: 10
    • Swine: 19
    • Value of Livestock: $467
  • Bushels of Indian Corn: 400
  • Bushels of Oats: 100
It's similar to what he had for the 1860 census.  Not too much had changed.  Robert didn't own a large plantation, so the war may not have affected his business as it did some people.

August 30, 1873, Robert passed away.  He is buried in the Old Section of the Fayette City Cemetery.  His wife Palmira and their grandson, Robert Calvin Miles, are buried next to him.  I've seen on record that there is a CSA soldier buried next to them, but there isn't a stone that we have found for him.  Not sure if this CSA soldier could be their son, Absalom Jackson Miles or not.  My mom and her husband have taken a couple of trips to the Fayette City Cemetery and have taken photos of the gravestones.  Interesting find, behind the old gravestones that are deteriorating from age, are two small white stones with just their initials on them.  They must have been added afterwards, but not entirely sure. Robert's was found inside the cement curb that surrounded one Bell family stones. Palmira's was found lying on the grass just behind the Bell stone.  I need to contact the people in charge of this section of the cemetery to see why this is.

Gravestones of Robert P. Miles, Palmira Jackson Miles, and Robert Calvin Miles

Second, smaller, stone with Robert's initials found in Bell plot

Photo of "RPM" stone lying inside Bell plot (on the left).  Palmira's second stone is lying in front.
Robert died intestate, and the probate of his estate was handled by his son-in-law, Holland Middleton Bell, who would eventually work as probate judge for the county. Copies of his probate paperwork can be found in the Fayette County, AL Probate Court Minutes: Vol.2, Pages 285-287, 783-784, 798-799; Vol. 3, Pages 24, 315, 342-343, 352-354; Vol. 4, Pages 43-44; and Fayette County, AL Probate Court Records, Vol. 2, Pages 401-408.

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!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Absalom Jackson - Chambers County, Alabama -Week 24

Will of Absalom Jackson dated August 29, 1838 in Chambers Co., AL
Copy found in probate file, in Chambers County Estates Box 16, Folder 43
Absalom Jackson was my 5th great grandfather on my mother's side of the family.  For a long time I had a hunch that the name of my 4th great grandmother, Palmira Jackson Miles' father was Absalom, but couldn't be sure.  Naming practices in the south are what I relied on.  I knew her and her husband had twin boys (the oldest boys of the family), and I knew their names were Absalom and John.  We believe Palmira's husband, Robert Miles' father was John Miles of Georgia, so it was safe to assume that Palmira's father was probably named Absalom.

So who was Absalom Jackson? As far as I can tell, he was born somewhere between 1781 and 1790, in either South Carolina or Georgia (I'm leaning toward South Carolina though). There is another Absalom Jackson who lived in Georgia. He was a land surveyor and has many, many documents with his name on file. But, we can safely rule out that these are two different men. The land surveyor was quite a bit older and is the same Absalom Jackson that died in 1793 in Camden County. He was married to Phareba Webster, and is not the Absalom we are talking about today.

The first record of our Absalom, that I can find, is the 1820 Federal Census. He is living with his family in Capt. Buckhalter's District, Jones County, GA. In the household are the following:
2 males under 10; 1 male age 16-25; 1 male age 16-44; 2 females under 10; 2 females age 10-15; 2 females age 16-25; 1 female age 45 or older
We know the 2 youngest males are not Absalom's sons.  Absalom and Abigail took in two boys after their mother died.  Hideon and Richard Moore were the twin sons of Joseph Iddings (or Idens, Hideon) Moore and his wife Jane.  I've been given notes about this Moore family, and it seems there was a family bible.  In the bible it states Jane died March 4, 1817 after giving birth to twins on February 25, 1817.  In the 1820 Federal Census, we see Hideon, or Iddens Moore, living a couple households away from Absalom Jackson.  I believe Absalom and his family raised these boys, or at least had a lot to do with the raising of these boys.  Both Hideon and Richard were mentioned in Absalom's will, and Hideon named two of his children after Absalom and his wife Abigail.

I believe the other male age 16-25 was the husband of Absalom's daughter Elizabeth.  Her husband was named Thomas Jefferson Brooks.  His father is thought to be Robert Brooks, Sr., who also lives just a few households away from Absalom.  His father, Robert, is listed as living alone in 1820.

In the 1830 Federal Census, we see Absalom moved his family to Meriwether County, GA.  He is listed with the following in his household:
2 males age 10-15, 1 male age 40-50, 2 females age 10-15, 2 females age 20-30, and one female age 50-60.
Again, the 2 boys were probably Hideon and Richard Moore. 

By 1838, the family had moved their way into Alabama, settling in Chambers County.  Absalom made out his will and signed it August 29, 1838.  It can be found in volume 1, page 204.  It was entered into court on October 5, 1838.  Here is a copy of what it says:
"Know all men by these presents that I Absolom Jackson while in my proper mind without the persuasion of any person or persons whatsoever, do bequeath unto my Daughter Phebe one feather bed and furniture also do bequeath unto my daughter Abigail, one feather bed and furniture.  Also I do bequeath unto my Daughter Mary, one feather bed and furniture and I further do bequeath to my Wife Abigal Jackson two sorrel horses one four years old and the other three years old last spring also one cart and yoke of oxen, and all the balance of the cattle and hogs and also the crop that is now growing on the place whre I now live for the use of my wife Abigal and family that now lives with me and her also and to remain, and also to all the household and kitchen furniture on this place where on I now live, and to be supported by Hideans and Richard Moore so long as she, that is my wife Abigal lives or remains a widow and the two horses and yoke of oxen and cart with all the balance of the cattle and hogs or so much as remains at her death or marriage there to be sold and equally divided between all my lawful heirs and all the balance of my property to be sold according to law, with the exception of two forty acres lots of land in the Cherokee County in Georgia that is if Jefferson Brooks will go and sell them according to a previous contract between him and me and return the one half of the price to be divided between all the heirs and the balance sold and equally divided together with all the debts due to me after all of my debts are discharged.
(enter line before assigned)
Know all men by these presents that I , Absolom Jackson do here by appoint my wife Abigal Jackson and John F. Sharp as my executors and administrators.  Assigned sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us this the 29th day of August 1838." 
The will was witnessed by Thompson Reeves, Edmond Jackson, and Richard Gordon.  Absalom signed it with his mark.

The will was given to the Orphans Court and entered into record with the following statement:
"I Joseph I. Williams, Clerk of the Orphans Court of said county do hereby certify that the above is a true copy of a paper admitted to record in this office as the last will and testament of Absolom Jackson late of this county, deceased.  Given under my hand and private seal there being no seal of office yet provided this 5th day of October A.D. 1838."
So, Absalom died somewhere between August 29th and October 5th of 1838, in Chambers County, AL.  The entire probate file can be found in Chambers County Estates Box 16, Folder 43.  From his probate file, we know his children were as follows:
  • Elizabeth who married Thomas Jefferson Brooks, Sr.
  • Mathilda who married Jethro Hamblin
  • Phebe who married William Thompson
  • Epsey who married William C. Hamilton
  • Palmyra who married Robert P. Miles
  • Abigail who married William C. Stephens
  • Mary who married Royal Floyd Tucker
Phebe, Abigail, and Mary were all unmarried at the time of Absalom's death.  All of his daughters remained in Alabama, mostly around Chambers and Tallapoosa Counties.  Palmira moved with her family to Fayette County by 1860.  Abigail Jackson, Absalom's wife is shown once more in the 1840 Federal Census.  I believe her and her daughters were living with Hideon Moore.  The entry on the census reads Hideon Jackson.  In the household are one male age 20-30, one female age 10-15, one female age 15-20, 2 females age 20-30, and one female age 50-60.  If Hideon was taking care of Absalom's wife and children after his death, it is quite possible the name was mixed up.

What Jackson line is Absalom from??

This is the question I'm currently working on.  So many people are doing research on the different lines of Jacksons in the southeast.  Everyone has a different theory.  I have an assumption of my own.  I have no proof for this, so don't quote me on it, but I believe these Absaloms all come from the same line of Jacksons. 

First, I believe, the Absalom Jackson who died in Camden County, GA in 1793 was born about 1750.  He had ties to the Quakers and the Society of Friends in Wrightsboro, GA.  His father may have been Benjamin Jackson.  Benjamin Jackson also had another son named Walter.  I believe this Walter might be the father of our Absalom.  Walter also had another son named James.  James married Temperance Motley, and they had a son named Absalom born February 26, 1805 in Georgia.  This Absalom married Emma Bolling Hall and lived in Autauga County, AL.  This line of Jacksons is said to have come from Ireland in the early 1700s.

It is said that the Moore family from which Hideon and Richard came from were also related to Quakers, and the Society of Friends.

For now, these are all assumptions, and nothing is 100% acurate without any paperwork to back it up.  Like I said, DON'T QUOTE ME ON THIS!  It is all a work in progress!!

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!!