Sunday, January 19, 2014

#52Ancestors Challenge - week 3 - "I Am Blind, I Can Not See" - Francis Marion Lock(e) - Missouri, Arkansa, Texas

"I Am Blind, I Can Not See," is a song my great-great-grandfather used to carry around with him.  It was found in the belongings of his daughter, Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb.  The words of the song were written by J.W. Neill, and the music by G.H. Ramsey, and it was "Dedicated to the blind wherever they may be."
Imagine going through life without being able to see.  Now imagine you're living in the late 1800s.  What a struggle that must have been!!  That was the life of my great-great grandfather Francis Marion Lock(e), or F.M. as I will refer to him.  He is my subject for week three's 52 Ancestors Challenge.

We know from stories that his daughter Mamie told, he played piano, and traveled around preaching and teaching piano to children in orphanages.  She used to drive him around in the "buckboard" because he could not see.  But who was this man?  Where did he come from?

We know from pages of a family bible that F.M. was born February 22, 1855.  I believe this entry was written by one of his daughters.  However, over time, the page had ripped, and at some point, someone taped it up and wrote over it with a blue pen (just the last number of the year was written over, not the whole birthdate).  We think it may have actually been 1859, but just can not be sure. 

We do know that F.M. spent most of his childhood at the Arkansas School for the Blind (ASB), in Little Rock, Arkansas (The school says it was located in Little Rock at this time, but on the 1870 & 1880 census, its has them in Big Rock).  We found him listed on both the 1870 and 1880 federal census.  He's shown as age 10 and blind in 1870, and then shown as age 21 and blind in 1880.  In 1880 they add the birthplace and parents birthplaces, and it is here we can see he was born in Missouri and his parents both born in Indiana.

Upon contacting the ASB, we were given copies of biennial reports that were issued by the "Board of Trustees & Superintendent of the Arkansas Institute for the Education of the Blind to the Govenor of the State of Arkansas."  These reports show F.M. as follows:
  • Reports from April 1868 - September 10, 1876 show: Francis M. Locke, residing in Little Rock, cause of blindness: sore eyes
  • Reports from October 1876 to September 30, 1880 show: Francis M. Locke, residing in Little Rock, cause of blindness: Athropy optic nerve
In all of these reports it shows him born about 1859.  It also shows that he probably stayed at the school, and did not return home like some of the other students.  Most students listed another residance on these reports besides Little Rock.  Did his parents give him up because they could not care for him?  Did something happen to them, and he was orphaned?  Also, was he blind at birth, or did he become sick?  Did he get injured during the Civil War?  He was just a small child, but could have been caught in some crossfire.  Or was it just an accident?  We may never really know.

All of the information above leads us to speculate who his parents might be.  The 1860 census has a Lock family living in Morris Township, Texas County, Missouri.  This family has a 3 month old listed as Francis M.  This census is dated June 14th.  If we take the month and day of the family bible as February 22nd, and the year he was born from the records of the school, then our F.M. would indead be 3 months old!!  This is not 100% accurate, and I wish I had more of a papertrail, but we take what we can, I guess!  The census is listed below with the names of the family members.

You can read the father is listed as John Lock, and the mother is Sarah.  This family is also shown in the 1850 census living in District 98 of Texas County, Missouri.  Living next door to them is an Elias Martin, and Nancy Jane Martin, both born in Indiana.  Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941 shows a John Lock marrying a Sarah Martin in Green County, Indiana on December 28, 1837.  Further research suggests Sarah may be the daughter of Hiram Martin and Peggy Cloud, who, in 1840, were residing in Green County, Indiana
Not sure who John Lock is related to.  The Lock(e) family name is very popular.  However, through message board posts and comments, it has been suggested that John Lock may be the son of Jonas Lock who lived in Lincoln County, KY and then moved to Orange County, Indiana.   I can not prove this, however, if you look at John's children's names, you see the oldest named Hiram, after Sarah's father, and the second son named Jonas, which could be after John's father.  There are several DNA tests that have been done on the Lock(e) families of the U.S., but without a direct male, Lock(e) descendant to do the test, we aren't able to be included.  The last male Lock(e) in our line is Grover William Locke, F.M.'s son, but we do not know what happened to him.  According to Mamie, we believe he died sometime during WWI.
Finding this Lock family after the Civil War has become next to impossible!!  With help from kind people on the message boards, we can find Nancy Jane Lock marrying Spencer W. Tate in 1867 in Texas County, MO.  We also find William Lock marrying Mary E. Wommack in 1874 in Texas County, MO.  However, I haven't been able to find out what happened to their parents.  According to, after the Civil War, most of Texas county was "depopulated."  We may never know!!
Anyway, back to F.M. and what we do know!! 
Things were looking a little better for him.  Online research also leads us to find in 1882 he was listed on the "Roll of Distinction." You can see his name if you visit the Alumni page for ASB. It means he finished his course work and received a certificate or diploma.
Then, on October 14th, 1883, F.M. Locke married N.E. Vines.  This is Nancy Elizabeth Vines, daughter of John H.M. Vines and Elizabeth Miles.  She was born July 21, 1851 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  Her mother and siblings moved to Arkansas after 1870.  Elizabeth's father died of sickness in the Civil War, and her mother was left with 7 children to raise (I'm hoping to do another post dedicated to her parents).
Together, F.M. and Nancy Elizabeth had 4 children
  • Grover William born March 12, 1885 Rosebud, White County, Arkansas - died unkown
  • Mamie Estelle born June 15, 1888 Rosebud, White County, Arkansas - died April 4, 1972 Baldwin Park, Los Angeles County, California
  • Vida Gertrude born August 30, 1890 Arkansas - died June 6, 1974 Lufkin, Angelina County, Texas
  • Pearl born May 26, 1892 White County, Arkansas - died December 1975 Macomb, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma
We think this is a picture of F.M. and Nancy Elizabeth with their oldest daughter, my great-grandmother, Mamie Estelle Locke.  Its a tin-type photo that was found in my grandmother's belongings.  If it is, then it would probably date back to the 1890s.

In 1890 we also find a "F.M. Locks" on the tax rolls for White County, Arkansas.  He was living in Kentucky Township at this time.  No occupation was listed.

Unfortunately, the family can not be found on the census records for 1900 and 1910.  However, we do have a few clues as to where they could have been.  Mamie had an autograph book that was given to her by her parents around 1898.  In it are several signatures of friends she had over the years.  Many people also dated their signatures and put down the town they were in.  Now, we aren't certain the family lived in these towns, but may have traveled back and forth.  Since her father traveled, they may have moved around a lot.  Below is just some of what we found in the book:
  • 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
I've been told, these pictures featuring F.M. are him with some of the students he was teaching.  We do not have any names for these people, and have no idea where they were taken. 
We have a letter that was type-written from F.M. to Nancy Elizabeth, dated October 31, 1911 in Gilmer, Texas.  In it he wrote that he was going to "Pritchett today where I will preach a series of docternal sermons which will probably last till Sunday night."  The picture below is of F.M. and Nancy Elizabeth.  We believe it was taken some time between 1910 and 1920, possibly closer to 1920.  We do know that Nancy Elizabeth was sick for some time.  Mamie said that she was so weak, that they cut her long, thick, hair to take some of the weight off her head and give her strength.  They kept it long around the bangs, sides and neck so they could "plaid" it (braid it), and wrap it around her head. 

On the 1920 Federal Census, which was dated February 19th, we see him living in Haskell County, Texas with his son-in-law C.H. McAlister and his daughter Vida.  He is listed as 60 years old, married, working as a "Minister of the Gospel," and blind.  Nancy Elizabeth is not living with them.  We aren't really sure where she was at this time.  However, she may have been living with Mamie or Pearl.  Their families are on the 1920 census in Shackelford County, Texas.  The date on the census for them is March 20.  Per the family bible pages we have, it says Nancy Elizabeth died March 19, 1920.  No death records have been found for her, nor do we know what cemetery she was buried in.

According to our bible records we also see that on November 23, 1923, F.M. died.  We aren't sure where he died or where he was buried.  Several attempts to find a death certificate, or record, have been made, but it just can't be found.

The search goes on though!  One day I hope to find the paperwork to either prove, or dispove, who this man was and where he came from. 

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