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"
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!!

No comments:

Post a Comment