Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Connecting with Lee Cousins

Thomas Jordan Lee son of Benjamin from Alabama

Thomas Jordan Lee, the second child of Benjamin and Drucilla, was born on 3 September 1839, in Talladega, Alabama. His parents, Benjamin and Drucilla, had not lived in Alabama long when Thomas Jordan was born. The Lee family migrated from Richland District, South Carolina sometime after the 1830 census, and by 1840 they were in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. Benjamin, would have been about thirty-three years old and  Drucilla, would have been about twenty-nine years old. 

Thomas Jordan married first Mary Holdridge 09 December 1865. Mary died about 1867, and he then married Mary’s sister, Martha Ann Holdridge, 15 December 1867 in Tallapoosa, Alabama. Martha Ann was born 05 June 1850 in Alexander City, Tallapoosa County, Alabama. It wasn’t uncommon for men to marry a sister of the deceased spouse.

His brother Benjamin William Henry was born on September 27, 1841, in Tallapoosa, Alabama, when Thomas Jordan was 2 years old. His sister Letty Jane was born in 1843 in Tallapoosa, Alabama, when Thomas Jordan was 4 years old. His brother William Alfred was born on October 6, 1847, in Tecumseh, Alabama, when Thomas Jordan was 8 years old. His sister Charlotte Sophronia was born on May 3, 1849, in Tallapoosa, Alabama, when Thomas Jordan was 9 years old. His sister Frances Drucilla Emmaliza was born on September 22, 1859, in Tallapoosa, Alabama, when Thomas Jordan was 20 years old.

Thomas Jordan Lee lived in Tallapoosa, Alabama, in 1850 in Township 24, Tallapoosa, Alabama.
Thomas Jordan Lee served in the military in 1860 in Alabama when he was 21 years old. His father Benjamin passed away in 1860 in Tallapoosa, Alabama, at the age of 53.

Thomas Jordan Lee served in the 14th Alabama Inf. Co. G along with John Holdridge, James Holdridge, John H. Holdridge and other Lee family, friends and relatives from the Hackneyville, Alabama area. At the close of the War Between the States, most of these men were at the Appomattox Courthouse at the time of surrender. Thomas Jordon Lee married first Mary Holdridge and then Martha Holdridge, daughters of John Holdridge, and sisters of James and John H. Holdrige.

Thomas Jordan Lee lived in Chinabee, Talladega County, Alabama, in 1880. His mother Drucilla passed away on September 27, 1895, in Childersburg, Alabama, at the age of 84.

Thomas Jordan Lee lived in District 9, Wilsonville, Shelby County, Alabama, in 1900. His wife Martha of thirty-six years is still living in 1900. Thomas and Martha married in 1867 so the years are an error by the transcriptionist.  Jordan is head of the household and living with him and Martha are sons James T. twenty-one years old, George H. nineteen, Beverly A. thirteen, and  William A. eleven years old. Martha was the mother of eleven children and eight of them living.

In 1910 Thomas Jordan (T.J.) is seventy years old and his second wife Martha was still living, and they reside in District 11, Spearman, Shelby County, Alabama. His fifty-nine-year old wife Martha and he have been married forty -two years is living there with him and one son Arthur age twenty-one and four grandsons. He is married and his relation to head of house was head. Thomas Jordan Lee died September 15, 1916 in Wilsonville, Alabama at the age of seventy-seven years. The grandsons Joe fourteen, Arthur twelve, Otis ten, and Edmond five are probably another of Thomas and Martha’s children’s children. If you consider the age of twenty-one year old Arthur he would have been eight when the Joe was born.

Thomas Jourdin enlisted in the Confederate Army at Hackneyville, Alabama. The muster in roll was dated 5 September 1861 at Camp Johnston. He was a private. He served his country well when he served in the Civil War. Thomas was in Co. G 14th Alabama Regiment. He was captured at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. He was wounded at Williamsburg, Virginia. He suffered from those injuries the rest of his life. He was paroled on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House Virginia.

Thomas Jourdin Lee died 15 September 1916 in Wilsonville, Shelby County, Alabama. He is interred in the Union Methodist Cemetery in Wilsonville. His beloved Martha Ann Holdridge lived 07 January 1929 in Arkwright, Shelby County, Alabama.
Photo added by Kitty Walker Lennard  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Connecting with Lee Cousins

Frances "Fannie" Drucilla Emmaliza Lee

Researching family is a fun hobby, especially when connecting with living cousins. Connecting with living cousins is possible by using all available resources such as social media, blogging, and DNA testing.

Social media is a great tool for family historians and researchers. Facebook Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinerest, and Linkedin are a few of the social media sites. These web-based technologies allow users to connect with others and share information.

Recently I connected with a descendant-in-law of Frances “Fannie” Drucilla Emmaliza Lee. Fannie married Clem Thompson. They had a son named Grover Cleveland, who married, and he and his wife had a son named Fred Harold. Then, Fred, Sr. and his wife had a child and that is where I connected with a living cousin.

Connecting with this living cousin was made possible by this online site, my blog, using Google Blogger. My living cousin stumbled across my blog and found the contact information and contacted me. We then corresponded to determine the connection. We are related on my paternal Lee line. Then we connected on a social media site and are sharing information. It has been a fun journey researching and connecting with living cousins.  

Mrs Frances Drucilla Emmaliza Lee Thompson

BIRTH 22 Sep 1859 Tallapoosa County, Alabama, USA
DEATH 5 Dec 1918 Talladega County, Alabama, USA
BURIAL Vincent Cemetery, Vincent, Shelby County, Alabama, USA

Family Members
Father: Benjamin Lee born – 1807–1859
Mother: Drucilla Lee – 1811–1895

Clem Thompson –1839 – 1901
Married:  14 July 1877, Clay County, Alabama
Elizabeth “Betsy” Lee 1838 – 1850/1860
Thomas Jordan Lee 1839–1916
Benjamin William Henry Lee 1841–1882
Lettie Jane Lee Patterson 1844–1914
William Alfred Lee 1847–1917
Charlotte Saphronia Lee Sharbutt 1849–1935
George Washington Lafayette Lee 1855–1932

Alace Stella Thompson Edwards 1877–1966
Sarah D. Thompson Dewberry 1878–1939
Zackeriah B. Thompson (died young)        
Albert L. Thompson 1883–1935
Grover Cleveland Thompson 1885–1970
John Harlan Thompson 1889–1973
Mallory S. Thompson 1893–1937

Monday, December 11, 2017

Life's Earthly Journey is Complete

The Last Chapter of History

Another chapter of history was completed on December 7, 2017. What is history anyhow? According to the, history is a continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account. Do you think of the death of a person or a loved one as the completion of history? There are a series of events in our lives as we journey through life. These events happen in chronological order. They end at the time of death.

Mary Ann McKinney, my brother’s wife, completed her journey through life December 7, 207, and the last chapter was complete. She was sixty-eight years old at the time of her death. She was a lady who touched and changed many lives. You may be asking what lives did she touch and how did she do that? Mary Ann taught school for thirty-four years. Those who are not teacher/educators may not be aware of the impact that a teacher/educator has on the lives of the students who are assigned to their classrooms.

There were a lot of children who came through her fourth-grade classroom over those thirty-four years. The students she taught were of average and low ability levels, middle income families and low-income families, but to Mary Ann they were all the same. She loved teaching, her love for her students were evident in the stories she shared of them, and the years that she spent in the classroom. Teaching is a tough profession; however, the reward is knowing that you have touched a life and put a glow of hope into a life.

Family was an important part of Mary Ann’s life. Her immediate family was her husband, two children, and five grandchildren. Then, there was her only sibling, a brother who was special to her. He didn’t live his life as his sister would have chosen for him; however, she loved him because he was “her brother.”

She was a talented lady and was as some folks would call it, a traditionalist. “Things need to stay as they are, they work well, and no one should change them,” she would say. When computers were being introduced into the classrooms, she was happy with things as they were and wasn’t interested in learning to use one, and she managed her classroom without a computer. She loved decorating in themes and which was a skill she used in her teaching as well as her home.

One might say that family themes are events in a person’s life, and covers many aspects. There are celebrations such as births and deaths, holidays, education, occupation, traditions, spiritual, social and traditions. Mary Ann wanted things to be decorated according to the event that was taking place at that time.

Once she retired from teaching, she took on the challenge of leading the senior adult group in her church. She worked with the “Joy” group in the church and prepared their events, such as the speakers and the meals. She saved the decorations from her years of classroom teaching and used those to decorate the dinner tables in the Family Life Center, the meeting place for the senior adult group. She was creative in many ways due to her education and training as a teacher/educator.

Mary Ann doesn’t know how many lives she touched and changed; but she loved the journey she took along the way. As we journey through life we don’t know how many lives we touch. The same is true about our ancestors as they journeyed through life. They didn’t know they would have descendants who would be looking at their lives and mapping their journey. Some of those ancestors’ lives are easy to map and others are a bit more difficult for whatever reason. However, we continue to look for ways to identify them and map their lives so that we can be assured we have the correct ancestor.

One day Mary Ann will be someone’s ancestor who will be researching and mapping her life. Her descendants will rsearch her life and map it as we do ours. It will be an easy task for her descendants since she lived and died in the area where she was born. She lived and died in the house she grew up in, taught at the same elementary school she attended as a student, attended the same church as a child and adult, married in the same church, attended college in her hometown, and was well educated with a plus thirty in education. Her journey through life from birth up to the time of her death was an interesting venture. She worked to improve the quality of life or others.

Mary Ann’s death came suddenly and unexpectedly. Humans are not assured of tomorrow, so are you living each day more consciously. Or, are you sleepwalking through life? Life is full of experiences while making the journey. Are those experiences ones that your descendants will be proud of and be happy to say, "this is my ancestor."

As we journey through life our descendants will we proud to call us their ancestors or they will be saddened by the life we lived? What will they be able to say about us? For each of us our final chapter will come, and we will be someone’s ancestor. How will our final chapter read?

A peach orchard near Ruston, Louisiana
Photograph courtesy of Office of Louisiana Tourism

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday's Tip

Land Records

The United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management website has a treasure trove of information for genealogists. It is a time intensive and an educational trove for anyone who is interested in learning about land records and the history of public lands. Since I have been researching my paternal great grandparents, William Alfred Lee and Emma Meadows, I have wondered why they migrated from Alabama to Louisiana. There were events that I have uncovered while researching the Lee family, and one of those events could have been the reason for them leaving Alabama. However, I could not find the evidence to prove why they migrated. I thought possibly the Lee family migrated to Louisiana because of cheap land for sale.

I have reconnected with two of my Lee second cousins once removed and over the years we have shared research notes and family stories. Recently one of my Lee cousins messaged to tell me that she had land information for William Alfred Lee, her great great grandfather, and that she would email it to me. Well, I did the genealogy happy dance? This was a great find, and answered the question I have asked since I have been researching the W. A. Lee family. Did they own land? This is my first rich find for land records. With the assistance of my husband, I went to the Bureau of Land Management website. He has taught classes on using land records in researching our ancestors.

My cousin acquired the land information from another Lee cousin. He took a trip to the Jackson Parish Courthouse to look through the land records. He found the conveyance record for the W. A. Lee land in Jackson Parish, Louisiana. My cousin sent me the land description, not the actual conveyance record. I will soon make a courthouse trip and acquire of copy of the conveyance record. And make a trip to Ouachita Parish Courthouse to check out land records there. The cousin who found the record lives near the plot of land that W. A. owned, and wasn’t aware he owned the land or the location of the land until he found the record.

Armed with the new land information, I went to the Bureau of Land Management website , put in the location, land description and clicked on search patents. The results came up and the Accession number was LA1280 .356 Duke, Charles the date 5/10/1898, Doc# 7812, LA then the township range 015N-001E, then the Aliquots NE1/4, Section # 14, County Jackson.

You then click on the image and a copy of the certificate comes up, then you may print a copy of the certificate. 

When I put in the land description, the patent search results gave me a name for the original owner of the land, Charles Duke. Charles was issued the land May 10, 1898. When I looked at the Patent Details I noticed this was a Homestead Entry Original. You can check out the history of Our Record Keeping History here. Public Lands History Timeline here. Surveys takes you to the original survey description. Also, a map of the township is shown.

If you click on the Patent Details on that page where the copy of the certificate is, there are details of the land with a map. Where the words Land Description is on that same page, directly below those words, there is the word Map. Click on Map and the township map comes up. This is where you can use Irfranview to snip a copy of the map and save to your computer, or use the Snipping Tool that is installed on your computer.

This is my first rich find for land records. Learning how to use land description to plot out your ancestor’s property and locate it on a map isn’t difficult. It lets you see your ancestor in the context of his surroundings such as churches, schools and physical features of the land. Once you discover where your ancestor’s land located then you can take a virtual tour on Google Earth.

The question of did William Alfred Lee own land has been answered. Now my next three projects are to research Charles Duke to see if he is connected to the Lee family, make a courthouse trip to the Jackson Parish Courthouse to get a copy of the original conveyance record and any other records available, and make a courthouse trip to the Ouachita Parish Courthouse to look for land records for W. A. Lee in Ouachita Parish. Research for this project is ongoing.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday's Maps

Plot of William Alfred Lee's Land in Jackson Parish, Louisiana About 1905

1907 Parish Map of Louisiana

Current Map from Google Maps of Jackson Parish, Louisiana

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday’s Record

Land of William Alfred Lee

The Lee, Edwards, Winn, and related families arrived in Jackson Parish, Louisiana about 1903 from Elmore County, Alabama. William Alfred Lee and his wife and children left Elmore County after the enumeration of the 1900 census. The window of time when they arrived in Jackson Parish was estimated by looking at the birth dates and places of birth of the grandchildren of William A. Lee. Why did these families migrate to Jackson Parish? Were they looking for a better life? Were they running away from the law? Were they looking for cheap land? Were they job hunting? Trying to answer the question, why these families left Alabama and settled in Louisiana is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It won’t be found, unless there is a manuscript or records somewhere that hasn’t been uncovered in researching this family.

One question has been answered though, and the question was did William A. Lee own land in Jackson Parish. This question was answered because a Lee cousin thought possibly the Lee family owned land. So, this cousin recently took a road trip to the courthouse in Jackson Parish. At the courthouse a conveyance record was found for W. A. Lee, my great grandfather. Since I don’t have a copy of the actual conveyance record, I have a road trip planned to the courthouse in Jackson Parish. While I am on the road I also plan a trip to the courthouse in Ouachita Parish. It stated on the record that W. A. lived in Ouachita Parish about 1905.

April 15, 1910 William A. Lee was living in District 53, Ward 1, Jackson Parish, Louisiana near Pine Bluff and Columbia Roads. He owned forty acres described as NE ¼ of the NE ¼ Sec14, T15N R1E. Great grandfather William Alfred Lee paid seventy-five dollars for the land, and later was paid eighty-five dollars by the Tremont Lumber Company for the pine timber.

I looked for the original land owner of the property who W. A. Lee acquired the land from and found the original certificate on the U S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management in the General Land Office Records. It was originally homestead land. The land was acquired by Charles Duke through the Homestead Act.

How long did the W. A. Lee family live in Jackson Parish, Louisiana? Where did they go after leaving Jackson Parish? William Alfred Lee died 18 October 1917 in Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish and Emma died 11 November 1920 in Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish. They both are interred at the Oak Grove Cemetery in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.

There are several unanswered questions about the William Alfred Lee family. The research is ongoing, and it may take years to find the answers. I will enjoy the hunt along the way for the answers.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Surname Saturday

The Mysterious Carmack

The challenge in researching the William R. Carmack family line is lack of records for that time in which I am researching. The other problem is that online family trees show William R. Carmack with no child named Drucilla, and those online trees show William R. Carmack with varying names for his parents. Drucilla, according to Lee relatives, was a Carmack. There are no historical records to link her to her parents,William R. and Pency Kent Carmack.

The question remains, who are her parents? How does Drucilla fit into the family? One of my Edwards cousins married a descendant of Benjamin and Drucilla Lee. They had a daughter named Frances “Fannie” Drucilla Emmaliza Lee and the descendant is from Fannie’s line.

Who is Drucilia? This question is an easy one to answer if I look at the family trees for the Lee family; however, to prove she is a Carmack is an impossible research tasks because there are no records to link Drucilia to her parents. The link that I have made from Drucilia to William R. is an indirect link. There is a William Carmack on the 1820-1840 censuses. I have taken each of the censuses put the assumed children of William and Pency in the age categories and they fit the categories for each census year. The estimated ages for Willam and Pency also fit their categories. Drucilia, her husband Benjamin, and their children are listed on the 1850 Tallapoosa County, Alabama census and living in the area is William, Pency was deceased by 1850. Also, William’s son John and his family lived in Tallapoosa County. Then, there was an 1855 Tallapoosa County census with William, John and James Carmack listed on it. Using these censuses to make an indirect connection from Drucilia to William is the closest that I have come to connecting Drucilia to William Carmack. William R. Carmack didn’t leave a will, or one hasn’t been placed online yet. Wills sometimes have the children’s names listed in them, and the connection from the parent to the child is proven.

Drucilla married Benjamin Lee about 1830 give or take a few years. Elizabeth “Betsy” is the first child that was born, or is listed on the 1850 census. Although there possibly is another child that I am unaware of in researching the Benjamin Lee family.

Benjamin Lee was forty-three years old and wife Drucilla was thirty-two years and they are living in Township 24, Tallapoosa County, Alabama in 1850. Their children are Elizabeth was twelve years old and was born about 1838 in Georgia, Jourdin T. ten years old and born in Alabama about 1840, Benjamin W. eight years old and born in Alabama, Lety J. seven years old born about 1843 in Alabama, and the youngest child was Charlote C. two years old and born 1848 in Alabama. Probably, Benjamin and Drucilla were married in Georgia since Elizabeth was born in Georgia. It is assumed these are their children since the relationship for the 1850 census doesn’t state the relationship.

Drucilla Lee is living in Youngsville, Western Division or Beat 2, in Tallapoosa County in 1860, and Benjamin is absent on the census with her and the children. However, living near her is a Patterson family and Drucilla and Benjamin’s son Thomas is living with the Patterson family. The Black family lives nearby Drucilla. Their son Henry married Sarah Ann Black and they live in dwelling 1357 and Drucilla lives in dwelling 1356 with Saphronia twelve years old, William A. ten years old, Washington seven years old, and two-year-old Francis. The mystery here is that William A. was born in Georgia and Saphronia was born in Alabama. Did Drucilla go back to Georgia to be  near family to have William A. Lee? Possibly she did go back to Georgia to be near her family to have her baby, William A.  Women sometimes would go back to be near family when they were expecting a child. Washington and Francis were born in Alabama. Where is Benjamin in 1860? Since the 1860 doesn’t state relationships or whether married, single, divorced, or widow I can only assume what happened to Benjamin before the 1860 census was taken.

In 1866 Drucilia and the three males and three females are living in Tallapoosa County and Drucilla is head of the household. Therefore, it is presumed that Benjamin Lee was deceased by 1866.

I haven’t found Drucilia listed on an 1870 census; however, she may be living with one of her family members or a relative. In 1880 Drucecila was living with her daughter Fannie Thomason, husband Clem, daughter Alice, Sarah, and son Zacheriah B. in District 141, Hackneyville, in Tallapoosa County. Druecilia is a boarder and was born in North Carolina as were her parents. Again, Benjamin Lee is missing from the census and is presumed to have died before the 1860 census since he isn’t on any records after 1850.

The parentage of Drucilla Lee will remain uncertain until records are found that will connect her to her parents. However, the indirect evidence and family stories are as close as I can get in connecting her to William R. Carmack and Pency Kent as her parents. Research will continue, and possibly historical records and DNA evidence will prove or disprove the parentage of Drucilla.
Tallapoosa County, Alabama