Monday, June 29, 2015

The Eleys from Drew County, Arkansas

Early Settlers of Drew County, Arkansas
Written by Esther Eley Jones
Little is known of Joseph “Joe” Eley other than he was shown on 1850-1880 censuses as being born in Mississippi about 1844. On the censuses, it states that Joseph’s father was born in Georgia and his mother was born in Mississippi. Robert Lawrence Eley, Joseph’s father, apparently left Mississippi and migrated to Arkansas before 1850.  Robert L. Eley was living in Tippah County, Mississippi in 1840. On the 1840 census Robert L. Ely was head and in the age category 20 thru 29 was 2 free white persons – males. Robert would fit that category since he was born about 1816. One free white person – female was in the 15 thru 19-age category. Martha would fit in that category since she was born about 1823 in Mississippi. R. L. Eley is on the Tippah County, 1841 State Census for Mississippi.

Robert L. Eley is listed on the 1850 Census in Spring Hill, Drew County, Arkansas.  Robert was a saddler and his birthplace was Georgia. His wife, was named Martha, Josiah, his son, was six years old. Robert and Martha’s daughter, Frances A. Eley, was three years old at time of this census taking. A saddler is one who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses.

Both Robert Lawrence Eley and his son Joseph served in the Confederate Army. One important lesson learned in genealogical research is to look for spelling variations of surnames. The Eley name is an example of variant spellings that it is found in documents. On the Confederate Service Record Eley was spelled Ealey. The surname has also been spelled Ely. The spelling for the surname that my family uses is Eley.

Joseph Eley’s Confederate Service Record shows that he was a private- served in the 10th Regiment Arkansas Militia Company B. This company mustered at Clarksville, Arkansas, from February 22 to March 19, 1862, with 99 men present. Captain John W. King was in command during this muster. * Later most of these men enlisted in regular Confederate regiments. Joseph later served in Co. H, 34th Arkansas Infantry.

Joseph Ealy’s later service record showed that he was a private enlisted 25 August 1862 at Camp Cunningham, AR. Deserted 25 Nov 1862.*See the note on explanation of the term "deserted."

Robert Lawrence had enlisted in the War Between the States in 1861 and left home to serve in the war.  Robert Lawrence Eley (Ealey) was on the 1860 Lacy, Veasey Township, Drew County, Arkansas the last census that he was found on and this was his place of residence as of 1 June 1860. His value of real estate was $600. In addition, the value of his personal estate was $300. The census was enumerated 15 July 1860.

Josiah was fourteen years old on the 1860 census.  April 2, 1960 Robert Lawrence acquired 80 acres of land in Drew County, Arkansas, and it was a cash sale.

Joseph’s estimated time of death is sometime after 1882 in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. He was the eldest son of Martha and Robert Eley. Joseph married Eliza Jane Green in Bastrop, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana 14 January 1879. Josiah Eley is 26 years old and shown on the 1870 census for Ward 6, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana with his wife Marry born in Mississippi age 20 and their son William born in Louisiana age 1 year. Living with Josiah, Marry and William is Robert Eley age 13 Josiah’s youngest sibling. Apparently, Marry and William died sometime after 1870 because they are not listed on another census.

Joseph and Eliza Jane had two known children, Pamelia A. and Jackson Lawrence Eley. Pamelia A. is on the 1880 census for 10 th Ward, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. Pamela was 7 months old at the 21 June 1880 census taking and that was the place of residence for the family 1 June 1880. Jackson Lawrence was born 4 June 1882. Family lore says he was born in Ashley County, Arkansas; however, I believe from the history of his father that Jack was born in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. It states on his World War I Draft Registration Card his place of birth is Louisiana and the 1942 Draft Registration Card the “Old Man’s Draft” his place of birth is Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. Jack Eley died 30 October 1944, in Pioneer, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.

U.S. Civil War Soldiers Records;
U. S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907;
U. S. Federal Census Records 1840, 1850, 1860
Tutorship Papers
Marriage Bond, Number 106, State of Louisiana Parish of Morehouse, 14th Judicial District Court, Bastrop, Louisiana, 1879.
Joseph enlisted in the Confederate Army and on the record, it states that he deserted 25 November 1862.

 *Note: The meaning of deserted at this time in history had a different connotation. Many of these soldiers have the word "deserted" after their names. We would like you to know that this is from the Microfilm from the National Archives. These soldiers may have been separated from their Units in the heat of battle, joined up with other Units and continued to fight this war. They may have families back home who were starving and no one to plant their crops or gardens... They may have gone home to visit awhile with loved ones.  They returned to their units, only to find that there were so many miles between them and their original Unit that rejoining them was an impossibility; therefore, they joined with another unit to continue to fight in the war.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Jordan Lee – from South Carolina to Alabama

Image from the  Library of Congress
Who is this Jordan Lee of South Carolina? He is an ancestor who is obscure and one who is almost without a paper trail of his existence.  His origin or parentage is mysterious.  Jordan Lee would be a third great grandfather the progenitor of the Lee family. His wife was Lydia Hodge daughter of Benjamin Hodge and Nancy (Rains) Hodge. An estimated marriage date of about 1805 was determined from the birth year of their first child.

As I have researched the Lee lines, I have found the records to be scarce, and have had to rely on census records and a couple of land records to trace Jordan Lee’s path. I have used his father-in-law Benjamin Hodge’s Revolutionary War pension record as a guide to verify that I am following the correct Jordan Lee. In addition, a Lee cousin has YDNA tested and the DNA tool used along with census and land records have helped in proving the lineage.

As records about Jordan Lee are found, they are analyzed and scrutinized to make sure he is the correct Jordan Lee, father of Benjamin Lee.Trinity Martin, daughter of Benjamin Hodge and Nancy (Rains), applied for a Revolutionary War Pension 13 Oct 1847, for the service time that Benjamin served in the War. Both Benjamin and Nancy were deceased at that time. Trinity Martin, wife of Joseph Martin deceased, filed for the pension on behalf of herself and her siblings: Sarah Grant, wife of Randell Grant deceased, Letty Lee, wife of Jordan Lee deceased, Lucy Sims, wife of John Sims, Rachel Martin, wife of David Martin, Sarah Cusa, wife of Reuben Cusa, Margaret Brown, wife of William Brown, and Zady Hodge. The children of Benjamin Hodge understood that he had been a private soldier in the Army of the Revolutionary War.

The Lee project that I have undertaken has taken several years to do.  Follow along as I take you on the journey of tracing the Jordan Lee line from Richland District, South Carolina to Tallapoosa County, Alabama using census records and land records.
The census records from 1810 to 1840 show that Jordan Lee was the father of at least seven children, possibly more.  He was a farmer and would have been about twenty-two years old in 1800. This age was estimated from information from a Daughter of the American Revolution application for a prospective member.

Jordan Lee was listed as head of the family on the 1810 census in Columbia Township, Richland District, South Carolina and as a free white male in the age category of 26-44. Jordan was about thirty-two years old in 1810 and would fit in that category. There was a free white female in the age range of 16-25. His wife Lydia would fit in that age category since she was born about 1780 and that was the only choice of categories for female where she would fit. There were five children in two age categories.

Listed on the 1820 census in Richland District, South Carolina was a Jordan Lee and again he fit in the age category of 26-44 since he would have been about forty-two years old. Lydia was about thirty-five years old in 1830 so she fit in the age category free white persons females 26 thru 44. There were nine children listed in the male and female age categories.

On the 1830 Richland, South Carolina Jordan Lee was head of the family and fit in the category of 50 thru 59 age range since he was about fifty-two years old at that time.  Ten children were in the age categories for males and females. Looking at the age categories and ages of the adults’ possibly two sons and daughters-in-law were living with the family. The category was free white males and females 20 thru 29. Therefore, I concluded sons Benjamin and Isaiah would fit in that category. 

There was not a Jordan Lee in Richland, South Carolina in 1840; therefore, I concluded the family was on the move due to expansion of the land in the territories of Mississippi and Alabama. The Lee family migrated after the 1830 census. On the 1840 Tallapoosa County, Alabama census, Jordan Lee was listed in the age category with free white persons males 60 thru 69. Jordan Lee fit in this age category since he was about 62 years old at that time. In 1845, Jordan acquired land in a cash entry sale. Jordan Lee was issued a certificate on 01 June 1845, No. 8198 for 40.13 and half-hundredth acres of land in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.

He was not found on any censuses or records after 1845, which led me to believe he died after acquiring the land in 1845. Lydia (Lidia) his wife was on the 1850 census for Township 24, Tallapoosa County, Alabama. On the 1850 census Lydia (Lidia) Lee was listed on the census as head of the family; age 60, a farmer, with a value of real estate owned 150 and occupation or trade farm, and born in South Carolina. Benjamin and his family were on the 1840 census for Tallapoosa County, Alabama so they had migrated along with his parents.

An estimated death date for Jordan was about 1847 since the date on Benjamin Hodge’s pension is Oct 1847, and Jordan was stated as being deceased at that time.  Lydia’s place of birth listed as South Carolina, and was listed consistently as her place of birth in the censuses from 1850-1870. 

While analyzing the1850 Census for Tallapoosa County Township 24 Alabama,  I noticed that living next door to Lydia Lee was  Zachariah Lee age 25, Martha E. age 20, and Susan L. age 1. Zachariah's was born in South Carolina. Zachariah’s wife Martha’s place of birth was Georgia and Susan L.'s place of birth as Alabama. They were farmers.  Jordan and Lydia had a son named Zachariah. 

On the 1860 census Letty (Lydia) Lee was listed with a family in Precinct 6 Butler County, Alabama. The enumeration date for this census was August 8, 1860.

Letty Lee was enumerated on 08 July 1870 in Township 22 County of Randolph State of Alabama. Letty, age 94, is living with James and Betsy Fetner. James was 65 and born in Georgia and Betsy was 56 and born in South Carolina. Their real estate was 40 and value of personal property was 100. James was a farmer. It was inferred that this is Lydia widow of Jordan, and Betsy was Lydia’s daughter.

Benjamin Hodge and Nancy parents of  Lydia Lee’s was proven from the Revolutionary War Pension of Benjamin Hodge. Lydia and Jordan Lee’s relationships were proven by the will of Benjamin as well. Lydia Lee’s father, Benjamin Hodge of the Richland District, served in the Revolutionary War for one year as a private in the Company of Captain Godwin  of the Regiment commanded by Colonel William Thomson in the Third Regiment of the Continental Line of the South Carolina Infantry.

Jordan Lee possibly was born in South Carolina circa 1778, but since I have not found an 1800 census, I cannot place his birth in a particular location. He would have been about twenty-two years old at the time of the 1800 census. He was married to Lydia Hodge, daughter of Benjamin Hodge and Nancy (Rains) Hodge, in Richland District, South Carolina. Jordan Lee was third great grandfather and father of Benjamin Lee, who was the father of William Alfred Lee, the father of “Granny” Alice Lee. 

Alice Lee, daughter of William Alfred Lee and Sophronia Emma Meadows was born 07 November 1887 in Tecumseh, Cherokee, Alabama. The Lee family moved to Louisiana between 1900 and 1910 and settled in Eros, Jackson Parish, Louisiana. The family was listed on the 1900 Federal Census for Jackson Parish Ward 1 for May 13.

Alice was 24 years old living with William A. and Emma Lee her parents. She was listed as having been born in Alabama. William was 64 years old and Emma 61 years old at the time of the 1900 census.  Robert E. Lee and Leaky, Alice’s brother and sister-in-law, were living there with William, Emma, and Alice. Robert was 26 years old and Leaky 23 years old. Robert and Leakey had three children listed with them. The children were Emma age 2, Willie age 3, and Mary age 8 months. Esters was not listed with this family at the time of this census taking.

DNA testing is a tool used along with the paper trail of research to prove the Lee familial lineage. Using the DNA matches along with records I am working to locate and prove the parents of Jordan Lee. According to the YDNA test results for the Lee project, this Lee line is not related to the Lees of Virginia. Knowing that the Jordan Lee line is a separate line helped eliminate that well-known and famous Lee family line. One of the matches from the atDNA test results showed a match to a descendant of Col. William Lee from North Carolina. Consequently, this is an avenue that I will continue to research.

Jordan Lee is the ancestor of this Lee clan. Jordan’s parents have not been located or identified; therefore, this will be an ongoing research project on the Lee family line.

Happy Lee Hunting