Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday's Faces from the Past

James William Lee and Nancy Matilda (Wynn) Lee

James Washington Lee and Nancy Matilda (Wynn) Lee
This photo is from my private collection. 
When I was growing up in West Carroll Parish I heard the name Uncle Jim Lee quite often. I listened as daddy talked about his uncle; however, I never knew who Uncle Jim was until I began my journey into genealogical research over fifteen years ago. Over the years as I researched the Lee family, the name Uncle Jim became real to me and I realized he was a part my family. No, he wasn't a part of my immediate family, but the brother of my Granny Eley, Alice Lee.

James William Lee was the oldest child of William Alfred and Emma (Meadows) Lee, and he was born in Elmore County, Alabama July 3, 1869. He died 27 June 1929 in Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.

Before the Lee family migrated to Louisiana about 1904 Uncle Jim married Nancy Matilda Wynn also born in Alabama. Uncle Jim and Aunt Nannie were the parents of sixteen children; and there were no twins or triplets. The oldest child, a son, James William was born in 1899 in Tallassee, Elmore County, and died in an accident in 1945 in Louisiana. They only had two sons of the fifteen children. Uncle Jim was a farmer. 

Uncle Jim and Aunt Nannie Lee have descendants who are living in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, Chicot and Union Counties, Arkansas, Mississippi and parts unknown today. ■

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Those Places Thursday

Tallapoosa and Elmore Counties, Alabama

Alabama is where the Lees, Meadows, and Edwards patrilineal ancestors settled for many years. They came out of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and settled in Alabama. The Lees came out of South Carolina between 1830 and 1840. They are in Tallapoosa County in 1850. The Lees and Edwards migrated from Alabama about 1904 to Jackson Parish, Louisiana. William Alfred was born in Alexander City. Our ancestors lived around family, They lived in communities. They did not do things in isolation. They worshiped together, They moved together. Therefore, it is vital that we study their lives; where they lived, the time or era in which they lived; the social and political part of their lives. 

Tallapoosa County was created December 18,1832 and was acquired from the Creek Cession of March 24, 1832. Tallapoosa is of Creek origin and in the nineteenth century many Indian villages were along the banks of the lower part of the Tallapoosa. Family stories were told of Emma being full "blood Indian"; however, there is no evidence of that from records that I have found in researching the Meadows family, and from atDNA test results and ethnicity.

Emma Meadows wife of William Alfred was born in Wetumpka, Elmore. County. Elmore County was created in February 16, 1866 from parts of Autauga, Coosa, Montgomery, and Tallapoosa Counties. Elmore County was named for a General John Archer Elmore who served during the Revolutionary War. General Archer was an early settler of Alabama. Located in the east central part of Alabama Elmore County is drained by the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, and those two rivers merge to form the Alabama River. Wetumpka is located a few miles south of the the Alabama River. Wetumpka is the County Seat of Elmore County. There are Lees, Edwards, and Meadows descendants who are living in those areas today. As researchers of family history it is vital that we understand the areas where our families originated and lived. When we study the time period or era and the place that our ancestors lived we will have an understanding of the people and their behaviors; or why they did the things they did; and why they moved to other areas.

Today the Tallapoosa County Courthouse is located in Dadeville the County Seat. Alabama became a state December 19, 1819. It was Alabama Territory before becoming a state.

Tallapoosa County gets its name from the Tallapoosa River. Tallapoosa is an Indian name meaning “pulverized rock.” The county is in the east central part of the state of Alabama, and lies almost in the Piedmont plateau which is located south of the Appalachian plateau province. The Meadows families came out of Georgia. Emma's father John Calvin Meadows was born in Greene County Georgia.

Tallapoosa is bordered by Clay, Randolph, Chambers, Lee, Macon, Elmore, and Coosa Counties. Tallapoosa is one of the counties where there are no known history of courthouse disasters.

Map from Google Images 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

The Morris Coon and Esters Eley Families

In the middle in uniform is Uncle George Coon. To his left is Uncle Morris Coon, Dorothy Holton, Daddy's niece, Bobby Coon in the car. In front of Bobby is Mary Alice Coon, Ruby, Eley and David Coon. Standing beside Uncle George is Daddy, Mother holding Esther, Mother holding Kathryn. in front of Uncle George is Polly, Mary to right of Polly and Jean. Buddy is in front kneeling. This picture was taken by Aunt Irma Eley Coon circa 1940. Morris and George are brothers to Alma (Mother). Uncle Morris's wife Irma was Esters' sister. This photo is from my private photo collection. My cousin in Texas, Mary Alice Coon sent this to me two years ago. It is one of only two photos of my parents when they were young. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday

Mary Alma (Eley) Klick

On Sentimental Sunday I wrote an article about my sister, Mary Alma (Eley) Klick, "Mary is Gone but Not Forgotten." Mary is interred beside mother, daddy, Uncle George Coon, and our sister Ruby Lee Hargraves in the Unionville Cemetery in Unionville, Louisiana. Our brother-in-law James Royal Pardon is also interred nearby.

The link to the memorial is found on There are other family members interred in the Unionville Cemetery located in Lincoln Parish on Highway 822.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Mystery Monday

Mark Burnett the Heir of Pleasant Burnett

I have been working on my Colonial Dames XVII Century application. Generations one through six has gone smoothly and each consecutive generation connects with the next. But, when I reached the seventh generation, and tried to prove the connection from son to father therein lies a problem. The records just aren’t there to prove it.
However, I have records that show a Mark Burnett son of Ann Tear widow of Pleasant Burnett. Pleasant Burnett died intestate. And he apparently died suddenly about 1794. There is a record of payment made to Anna’s heirs by Executor Pleasant Burnett, Ann and Pleasant’s son. On “27 Nov 1833 Letha Etheridge paid $191.00 in full for share of Mark Burnett.” There isn’t a record that I have found that specifically connects Mark Burnett to his father Pleasant Burnet, but there is the record that proves of payment naming Mark Burnett heirs to Anna Tear by the executor of her will.  
Mark Burnett was born circa 1790 in Edgefield, South Carolina to Anna Gentry and Pleasant Burnett. At some point in time Mark migrated to the Mississippi Territory. In 1810 Mark Burnett is named in the Mississippi Territory 1810 record where the “Name on petition to congress, referred 2 Dec 1812, by citizens of the territory who are principally employed in the pursuits of agriculture. They seek an extension of their last payment or they must foreclose.” The first record Mark Burnett is on is Early Mississippi Marriages to 1825. The War of 1812 Service record, was the next record where Mark Burnett was found, in 1816 Mark
There is Mark Burnett who served during the War of 1812 in Colonel Claiborne’s Company, Mississippi Militia. According to his record he enlisted September 19, 1812 and was discharged March 21, 1813. Mark Burnett married Anna Raborn 21 May 1810 in Amite County. Mark is on the Mississippi, State and Territorial Census 1816 in Amite County. Marcus Burnett is on the Amite, Mississippi 1820 Census.
Mark Burnett was issued forty acres of land in Lincoln County, Mississippi 10 Nov 1840. He is listed on the 1840 Pike County, Mississippi Census. In 1841 living in Pike County, Mark Burnet is on the State Census. Now, in 1850 Mark Burnett is sixty years old and living in Police District 3, Pike County, Mississippi with three females, Elsaby Burnett, age 27, Matilda Burnett age 35, and Celia Burnett age thirty-two. His place of birth is stated as South Carolina.
Living in Pike County, Mississippi in 1860 is Mark Burnett age seventy-two with Elza B. age fifty, Matilda Burnett age forty-six, Celia Burnett age forty-four, Telitha Burnett age thirty-six and Luvia Hamilton age twelve. Living nearby is Latitia Burnett daughter-in-law and her children. By 1870 Township 5, Lincoln County, Mark Burnett is living with E. Burnett age fifty, Matilda age forty-nine, Celia age forty-eight and Latisha age forty-seven. There is a John A. Raborn living nearby, and is probably related to Anna widow of Mark. Mark is not on the 1880 census; however, Elsaby, Matilda, Celia, and Telithia Burnett are listed on the Beat 3, Lincoln county, Mississippi census. The birthplace the father of each females was South Carolina. They were all sisters. The last record that Mark Burnett is found on is the 1870 census.
Mark Burnett’s place of birth on the censuses from 1850 through 1870 is consistently stated as South Carolina. Then, the daughters stated their father was born in South Carolina. 
From my research and the records that I have analyzed I believe Mark Burnett to be the son of Pleasant Burnett, Sr. born circa 1750. ■

Map from Google Images

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sentimental Sunday

Mary is Gone but Not Forgotten

Mary Alma Eley born 01 May 1938 in West Carroll 
Parish, Louisiana. Died 08 May 2004 in Shreveport,
Caddo Parish, Louisiana. 
She was a quiet easy going person. Some would say the lost child, since she was one who went about making very little noise and not doing things to draw attention to herself. The smile on her face was one that touched my heart. I knew what Mary had been through and how she suffered. Mary suffered from pain for many years. This suffering was caused from trials of life and her health problems.  As I watched her suffer, it seemed unbearable; but Mary was courageous and strong. She always rebounded from the hard times that life sent her way, and came out with that smile on her face, that only Mary could display. She went through each day this way for sixty-five years.

You see, Mary didn’t have the luxuries of life, nor the material objects that so many people use to bring them peace and joy. She had an inner peace and joy. She had the basic needs of life, and she was content. This inner peace and joy was what gave her the courage to face her own mortality at age sixty-five when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. That was the biggest trial of all, and that one she faced as she had all the others.

Mary Alma Eley was the fourth child born to Alma, and was born on a farm in rural Oak Grove in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Most likely there was a midwife there to assist in the birth. Johnny was the only child of the eight born in a hospital. Esters Eley was a farmer, and we lived in a rural area, and family and cousins would have been nearby to offer assistance when needed.  

Mary was one of eight children, six girls and two boys, in the Esters Eley household. She married young, at the age of sixteen. On 24 Dec 1954, Mary Alma Eley and Larry Gene Klick married in West Carroll Parish. They were the parents of three sons. Larry’s father immigrated from Poland in early 1905 and the Klick family lived near our family in rural Concord Community. Soon after Mary and Larry married Larry was called up to serve his time in the Army. That meant basic training and living away from family. 

Larry and Mary lived in White Sands, New Mexico for a few years. Larry was in the Army and was stationed there a while, and later was sent to Germany.  I know that must have been a momentous time in her life. She left family, and rural West Carroll Parish to an enormous area to live on an Army base or near one.  She had never been away from home; however, I know Mary took this new beginning in her life with the same resolve she had all others.  With courage! 

On 8 May 2004 Mary succumbed to the battle with lung cancer. She was strong to the end and encouraged those around her. The night Mary died, I visited her in the nursing home where she was living. Before I left to go home, Mary asked if I would get her some ice cream, and to make sure I got her friend some too. I ordered both of them ice cream and they were enjoying their treat when I left. That night the nurse called to tell me Mary had expired. The memory of Mary and her friend, an elderly black lady, enjoying their ice cream is the last memory I have of her. This is one that means a lot to me, because Mary had so much love to give to others and she never asked for anything in return.

She left a legacy for her children and others. You may be asking, what kind of legacy can a person who only had the basic needs of life leave? The greatest one of all is peace, joy, and courage. Her three sons saw this every  day of their lives in their mother. This is what she taught them and they too will face life and the trials that are brought their way with the same peace, joy, and courage.   

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sibling Saturday

The Last of the Lost Blunt Children:  Mamie Blunt

The last of the four Blunt children Mamie Blunt, was finally located after hours of researching and looking in various locations. My quest to find mother’s half siblings after the death of their mother in about 1923 in Lincoln County, Mississippi is coming to an end with the recent find of Mamie Blunt. Joe, Jr., Luther, Julia, and now Mamie will have their rightful place in the family tree of W. G. Blunt and Mary Lavenia Ramsey.

Grandmother died suddenly and unexpectedly about 1923 in a hospital according to the story Clifton Columbus Coon told to mother. The death of grandmother Coon is a mystery and future research may eventually uncover the cause of her death and the actual death date and place.  Grandmother’s first husband died and left her with these children; however, she married about 1908 in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi Clifton Coon. There are very few records for this family in Mississippi, and Chicot County, Arkansas; however, I will take the ones that I did find and glean information about the family from them. More research for the marriage record is needed. Also, the death record possibly is recorded in Louisiana, so I will try to order a copy of the death certificate for Aunt Mamie. There isn't a probate record for Aunt Mamie nor Uncle Ed. However, I knew this family personally, and she is mother's half sibling. Aunt Mamie and Uncle Ed most likely married in Mississippi since their first child was born in Mississippi. Therefore, a trip to the courthouse in Lincoln and Pike Counties is in my future plans. 
First on the 1900 District 109, Beat 3, Pike County, Mississippi is Willie Blunt, with his wife Venie, and the sole surviving child, Joe. Willie was born Oct 1870, Venie was born Nov 1876, and Joe was born Dec 1874. They all were born in Mississippi. Willie and Venie had been married seven years and had three children with one surviving. 

On the 1910 District 87, Beat 3, Lincoln County, Mississippi census Venie is married to Clifton Coon and she is listed as Mary L. By 1910 Joe, Jr. would be about sixteen years old; however, he isn’t on this census with grandmother, her husband, her children Luther, Julia, Mammie, Clifton’s son Roan, and Clifton and Mary’s son Morris. Mamie is three years old on this census.

The next census is the 1920 District 92, Ruth Precinct, Lincoln County, Mississippi has Grandmother Venie with all the children, but Clifton is missing from the census with his family. After extensive searching Clifton was found living in another county as a boarder and stated he was a wd (widower). Why would he state that? Why is he leave his family and live in another county? Why isn’t he with his family and helping take care of them? These are all questions that further research is needed to answer.

By 1930 the lives of this family has changed dramatically. Little did the children know that when they were all together on the 1920 census, that would be the last time they would be together with their mother. They would go in different locations and pick up their lives in a new area. Clifton had migrated with some of the children to West Carroll Parish. Mamie was married by 1930 and is listed with her husband Ed Ethridge and their three children; Helen age four, Dorothy Lee, age two, Calvin Edgar, seven months. Helen was born about 1924 in Mississippi. Dorothy Lee was born 15 Mar 1924 in Eudora, Chicot County, Arkansas. Calvin Edgar was born 31 Mar 1929 in Louisiana.

Mamie and her family were found living in Chicot County, Arkansas on April 1, 1940, and she has seven children listed on the census with her and her husband Edd Ethridge. The four additional children are sons E. B., James Robert, Donald Craig, and Billy Eugene. Uncle Edd’s occupation was labor and he was working on a road project. Aunt Mamie was thirty-three years old on this census. Her work was housework.

Mamie was the last of the Blunt siblings who was on the move after the death of their mother Mary Lavenia (Ramsey) Blunt. She and her family were last listed on the 1940 census living in Chicot County; however, I know from my growing up years that Aunt Mamie and her family lived in Lake Providence, East Carroll Parish, Louisiana and that is where they both died.  Aunt Mamie died 1961 in Lake Providence in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana

According to the post on Findagrave Mamie Blunt Etheridge is interred in the Lake Providence Cemetery, in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana; however, this hasn't been verified by this blogger. Mother and her sister Essie took this picture years ago when they went to the cemetery. My cousin sent this photo recently and there wasn't information about the place of interment. The Louisiana Statewide Death Index shows that she died in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana the 5 September 1961. 

My memories of Aunt Mamie are that she was a dear kind lady. She was mother's half sister; however, I didn't know that until I began researching the Blunt/Coon family.  Mother always spoke fondly of her sister. Our family visited them in Lake Providence. Aunt Mamie now has her place with her siblings in the family tree. 

More research is needed on this family and eventually trips to Lincoln and Pike Counties, East Carroll Parish, Courthouse and Chicot County, Arkansas Courthouse is in the future plans. But for now, I am happy to have found Aunt Mamie and her family; and  I have placed them in the family tree.

My cousin Mary Alice sent me the photo of Aunt Mamie's headstone last year. I am grateful for for her sharing her photos with me.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday’s Words

Benjamin Hodge, the Patriot

Benjamin Hodge is my second great grandfather on my father’s family line. Daddy’s mother was Alice Lee; her father was William Alfred Lee; and his father was Benjamin Lee; and Benjamin’s father was Jordan Lee. Jordan Lee married Lydia Hodge daughter of Benjamin Hodge and Nancy Rains. Benjamin Hodge was a Revolutionary War soldier and served in Colonel Thompson’s Regiment in South Carolina. Revolutionary War pension files can be a gold mine of information for genealogists searching for ancestors from the Revolutionary War era. Benjamin Hodge’s pension application is full of such information.

If you have an ancestor who was born between the years 1726 -1767 then he possibly served in the American Revolution.  Not every Revolutionary War soldier who served in the war received a pension. The pension and bounty-land warrant application files contain mostly the records of enlisted men, not officers. The first pension act, enacted on August 26, 1776, allowed soldiers and sailors who were injured in the war to receive pensions. These were men who served to support the colonies. Due to their injuries they weren’t able to earn a living.


[Methodology: Spelling, punctuation and/or grammar have been corrected in some instances for ease of reading and to facilitate searches of the database. Also, the handwriting of the original scribes often lends itself to varying interpretations. Users of this database are urged to view the original and to make their own decision as to how to decipher what the original scribe actually wrote. Blanks appearing in the transcripts reflect blanks in the original. Folks are free to make non-commercial use this transcript in any manner they may see fit, but please extend the courtesy of acknowledging the transcriber—besides, if it turns out the transcript contains mistakes, the resulting embarrassment will fall on the transcriber. I use speech recognition software to make all my transcriptions. Such software misinterprets my southern accent with unfortunate regularity and my poor proofreading fails to catch all misinterpretations. I welcome and encourage folks to call those and any other errors to my attention.]

State of South Carolina Richland District

Pension application of Benjamin Hodge W10115 Nancy fn61SC
Transcribed by Will Graves 1/5/11

On this 2nd day of October 1832 personally appeared in open Court before Josiah J Evans one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas & Sessions, Benjamin Hodge a resident of the district and State aforesaid, aged about eighty, but does not know his age precisely, who being 1st duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th 1832. That he entered the service of the State of South Carolina under the following named officers, and served as herein stated. He entered the service by enlisting in the Company of Captain Goodwyn in 1775, in Colonel Thompson's [sic, William Thomson's] Regiment, it being the 3rd Regiment of Rangers raised by the State of South Carolina; He enlisted first for 6 months & served his time out & after he had served out the six months he enlisted again under the same Captain & Colonel for fifteen months service; which time he also served out & obtained a discharge which has since been consumed by his house which was unfortunate[ly] burnt. During the six months’ service he was in the campaign called the Snow Camp in the Western part of South Carolina which was in the winter '75 – '76. He was in no battle but assisted to take Fletcher [sic, Thomas Fletchall] the Tory. They were stationed for some time at a place called the big survey. Then they went to Ninety [sic, Ninety-Six] and came on down with the prisoners, by Granby to Charleston & over to Sullivan's Island and they began to build the Fort and after it was finished they had the battle in it, called the battle of Sullivan's Island. The Fort was attacked by the British Fleet, Colonel Moultrie at the time commanded the Fort. The applicant was not in the Fort, but on the Island under Colonel Morrison who commanded the troops outside the Fort on the Island. He can't remember the day the battle was fought. After that battle he was sent away towards Savannah, his company after being in Savannah some time they went up to Augusta. At Augusta he got a furlough to come home which was then in the district & State aforesaid, and after his furlough had expired he went down to headquarters at a place called Nelson's Camps, where Colonel Morrison's Regiment was resting, not far from Eutaw Springs, or Nelson's ferry, at a place called Williams Branch, where there was good water. Here he was discharged which discharge has been burned in his house as stated above. Cannot remember the day of his discharge but he served the 15 months out for which he had enlisted the second time. He was under the same Captain all the time. He was in a skirmish against a body of Negroes & white men, in Georgia beyond Savannah at a place called the Thunderbolt on an Island between Sunbury & Savannah. After this, but he can't remember the year, but he did not stay at home long, before he went out again in the militia under Captain Craig, and under him (he marched he believed Colonel Wynn [Winn] commanded the troops) he marched around by Ninety-Six, Augusta, Orangeburg & then around home again. He was a volunteer in the militia & made several other matter excursions than those he has listed. He was born in Richland district South Carolina, has no record of his age, and never acted as a substitute.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except [the present], and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State.
Sworn to and subscribed the day & year aforesaid.

Sworn to in Open Court to October 1832
S/ James E. Guignard, Clerk S/ Benj. Hodge, X his mark
[fn p. 53: Benjamin Treadwell, a clergyman, and Doctor Samuel Green gave the standard supporting affidavit.]

[fn p. 54]

South Carolina Richland District: Personally appeared before me Major Hicks Chappell1, that he is old & very feeble & cannot conveniently attend at the Court of Common Pleas to sit at Columbia, the 1st Monday in October next & that he knew Benjamin Hodge during the Revolutionary War, & that he enlisted in 1775, in Captain Goodwyn's Company in Colonel Thomson's Regiment; – viz.: 3rd Regiment of Rangers, he enlisted for six months & served his time out & to the best of deponent's memory he thinks Mr. Hodge enlisted again for the fifteen months service: about this however he is not positive. He went up & served in the Snow Camps. These three Regiments were regulars raised by South Carolina. After serving the first six months out, deponent saw him once or twice still in the service, which he thinks was the fifteen months’ service & thinks he was still in Captain Robert Goodwin's Company under Colonel William Thompson.

1 Hicks Chappell W22758
S/ Hicks Chappell
Sworn to before me the 12th of September 1832
S/ James L. Clark, C. E. R. D. J. Q. U.

NOTE:  This is the part where the goldmine of information is and vital information for my family.

[fn p. 4: on October 13, 1847 in Richland district South Carolina, Trinity Martin, 64, wife of Joseph Martin deceased, daughter of Benjamin and Nancy Hodge, filed a claim for the pension due her mother under the 1836 act; she states that she files a claim on behalf of herself and her mother's other heirs, to wit, Sarah Grant, wife of Randall Grant deceased, Letty Lee, wife of Jordan Lee deceased, Lucy Sims, wife of John Sims, Rachel Martin, wife of Daniel Martin, Anna Cusad, wife of Reuben Cusad, Margaret Brown, wife of William Brown, and Zady Hodge; that her parents were married in 1778; that her father died in Richmond County on January 8, 1837 and her mother died October 10th 1845; that she has no record of either the marriage of her parents or the births of their children, but her oldest sister Sarah Grant, wife of Randall Grant, was born during the war.]

[fn p. 12: On September 29, 1847 in Richland District South Carolina, Anna Hodge, widow of Thomas Hodge, gave testimony that she is, she believes, 90 years of age; that she knew Benjamin Hodge and his wife Nancy, both now deceased; that they were married in 1778 and were recognized in society as husband and wife since that date.]

[fn p. 45: certificate dated January 17, 1848, from the South Carolina Comptroller Generals Office listing payments made to a "Benjamin Hodge" for him service during the revolution including 46 days’ duty under General Marion in 1782.]
[fn p. 50]

State of South Carolina Richmond District: Personally appeared before me Jasper Faust who being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following statement, that he knew Benjamin Hodge deceased who was a pensioner of the United States and also his wife Nancy Hodge deceased both formally of Richland District State of South Carolina. That he knew them to be living together as husband and wife during the time of the Revolutionary War and that he knew them the aforesaid Benjamin & Nancy Hodge deceased to be living as husband and wife together before the aforesaid Benjamin Hodge left the service of the United States as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. This deponent further states that he himself is 87 years of age.
Sworn to before made this the 13th day of October A.D. 1847

S/ A. Fetch, Magistrate S/ Jasper Faust2
[fn p. 20: certificate of the South Carolina Comptroller General dated December 14, 1846 listing payments made to a Mr. Gasper Faust for military services during the revolution.]

[Veteran was pensioned at the rate of $70 per annum commencing March 4th, 1831, for one-year service as a private in the South Carolina Continental line.]

The information that I gleaned from this very important document gave me names, dates and places to allow me to further research the Hodge and Lee family lines. I have Benjamin estimated birth date and his wife's name. His children's names are in this document as well as their spouses. If the spouses were deceased he mentioned that also. I couldn't ask for much more than this in a record. 

NOTE:  I have the original pension application; however, this one is so much easier to read so I chose to use it instead.  You can check out the website below to learn more about this very useful resource for genealogists. 

Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday's Tips

DNA Testing and Family Stories

Image from Google Images
Six years ago my husband and I were asked to lead the Computer Group here in our area. The lady who founded the group was ninety-three years old and she was having health problems. She told my husband, “We need some new blood in this group.” My husband being a computer whiz, having degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science, was the person with the experience to lead the group. We both were experienced in genealogical research. She asked him to take over the group and lead it. He accepted the challenge, and with excitement and experience took over as leader. There were about twenty members left in the group, and the group was dying.

My husband made some positive changes in the group; those changes were for the best and the membership started growing. That was in 2009 and the group continues to get new members and several visitors at each monthly meeting. In the beginning, both my husband and I were getting questions about DNA testing. We began to read about DNA testing and gathered as much information that we could find about DNA. Both my husband and I had been involved in genealogical research for ten years. We decided it was time to take a DNA test. We were leaders of this group and we needed to learn about the latest tool in genealogical research so we could teach members.  

Both my husband and I dived into the DNA testing “hoopla” taking the Family Finder autosomal and mitochondrial test with Family Tree DNA Testing Company. My husband later took the YDNA with Ancestry DNA, and a couple of years later took the YDNA test with Family Tree DNA. In 2012 I had my brother tested for the 67 Marker YDNA Test. My husband and I both tested with 23andMe DNA Testing company, and when Ancestry DNA was introduced to the public we tested with that company. We then started a DNA Interest group (DIG Group) for our area.

That was five years ago and the interest in DNA testing continues to grow. The question asked the most is, “Which test do I take?” The other question is, “Which company do I test with?”  We prep new test takers with the information they need such as:  Why do you want to DNA test? Have you researched your family lines? Do you have a pedigree chart back at least 4 or 5 generations? Or do you know how to do genealogical research? What do you want to learn from the test? What are you trying to prove?  The other tidbit of information for the test taker that we remind them of is, a DNA test may reveal information that you aren’t aware of, or family secrets. Are you prepared for that? Do you know of family secrets? By informing members or nonmembers of this important fact then they can prepare for the test results when it comes in.

My father was the results of a non-paternal event, and he was privy to this information. I will forever be thankful to my grandmother for telling Daddy, when he was a little boy, about his biological father. Daddy shared this information with my older sister and brother. When I ventured into my new found hobby of genealogical research, my sister who is ten years older than me said to me, “Now Fay you know Daddy’s daddy was Uncle Johnny Edwards?” I dismissed this tidbit of information as a family tale, but it was tucked away in my memory. When I hit the ultimate brick wall while researching my Eley family, I decided it was time to look into YDNA testing.  Maybe that will reveal new information that will help me determine which Eley line is mine. When the test results came back I looked at the results and didn’t have a clue how to analyze it. I had joined the Eley DNA Project at that time. Later, an Edwards cousin contacted me to find out about my brother’s YDNA 67 Marker Test results. After corresponding with this new found Edwards cousin he educated me on the test results. He was the Edwards Project Administrator. Then I recalled my sister Ruby’s tidbit of family information. The test results confirmed my father’s biological father.

This information was very helpful in researching my patrilineal line. It also helped me understand how important it is for families to be truthful in sharing information. Family secrets can be hurtful when the truth comes out, so it best to reveal the truth and get it out in the open. In my immediate family this non-paternal event happened and is out in the open.

My siblings and I are all right with the truth that was revealed in testing my brother. The event that took place was many years ago, and a different time period. It doesn’t change how we feel toward our grandmother and our Edwards family. Only those who were involved knew the real reason as to why this event took place. However, anyone when they decide to delve into DNA testing, needs to understand, there may be information that comes out in the test results that they aren’t aware of. There may be unknown relationships that show up or there may be untold family stories that are revealed. When you are aware of this information then you can decide if you want to take a DNA test or not.  When you are aware of the possible outcome of the test then you are prepared for the information that will be revealed in the results. I know from experience, it is worth it to go ahead and DNA test. I realized this was not going to affect me in any way, and I changed my research plan, laid the Eley plan aside, then researched my Edwards patrilineal family. Working with my new found Edwards cousin my Edwards genealogical research has been proven and Daddy has his rightful place in the family tree. Our Edwards family has been revealed and proven to 1791 Virginia, and that is most likely where it will stay. I am not interested in going “over the pond.” I am content with where I am in researching this particular family.

It wasn’t like the Edwards family were strangers to my family; they weren’t. Our families visited and had family reunions, and stayed in close contact. I have fond memories of the times our families visited and shared reunions together.

When you DNA test and the results shows information that surprises you, what will you do with it? You will either decide, not say anything; or you will want to know the details of the story about this particular event. You will make the decision to share the information or to keep quiet about your new found information.  If you share the information with family, handle it carefully and be sensitive to others and how they may react. Only you will know whether to reveal or not reveal your new found information. ■

Monday, September 19, 2016

Military Monday

Dickson Kelley 

Dixon Kelley 2nd great grandfather on my paternal line.
Father of  Nancy Musera Kelley. Husband of Ann Wideman. 
Dixon Kelley was Born 15 Feb 1820 in Alabama.
He died 14 Feb 1898 in Elmore County, Alabama.
Dixon (Dickson) Kelley was the grandfather of 
John Houston Edwards, Daddy's father. 
A receipt roll for clothing for Dickson (Dixon) Kelley.

Dixon Kelly served in the Confederate Army in Alabama. He was
about 48 years old when he served. At the time of him serving he
had a wife and six children back home. He survived the war. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sentimental Sunday

Esters and Alma Lavenia (Coon) Eley married 29 Apr 1932 in
West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. They were married fifty-eight
years when Esters died 1990. 
Family Traditions

I am leading a writing group where for 52 weeks, I will share weekly writing prompts with the group and members write as much or as little as they like using the prompts to jog their memory. “52 Weeks of Writing:  Writing Memories of Your Life” is the name of the group. Our writing prompts for this week are writing about our family traditions. This prompt brought back memories of when I was growing up in West Carroll Parish. One of the traditions that brings fond memories to mind, is the evening meal in our family. All the meals were shared together at the table as a family meal; however, the evening meal was a little different.

Evening meals were a hallowed time. When Mother called the family to come eat dinner, we all came promptly, orderly, and in a timely manner. Daddy came in, washed his hands and combed his hair before each meal. He taught us children to wash our hands before a meal. We did not have to be called to come in but the one time. There were eight children in the family and we ate during mealtime. If we lingered and played, and didn’t make it to meal time, there wouldn’t be anything left for us. So we knew to come when called.

Daddy sat in his large straight chair at the head of the table and mother was at the other end of the table in her special chair. The children sat quietly on the benches at the large wooden table. Daddy had built the benches and table for our large family of ten. Mother cooked the meals while Daddy did the chores on the farm. The smaller children would play outside so we wouldn’t be in Mother’s way while cooking and getting dinner ready. The older children would help daddy with the chores. When Mother had dinner ready for the family, she would call for us to come inside.  Once we were all inside and seated in our places then it was mealtime.

Daddy and Mother talked about their day, and we listened to them as we ate our meal.  We raised our hands if we had a question or if we needed seconds of a serving. We were taught not to reach and get our serving. We waited until everyone was finished before leaving the table.  
Daddy and Mother taught us how important this time was together as a family. Our family had a closeness and togetherness.

This tradition will always be remembered, and I will always be thankful that my parents instilled in me to be thankful for I have, love and respect for family. ■

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

Julia Mae Blunt

Julia Mae Blunt is sibling number three of the lost children of Mary Lavenia and W. G. Blunt. I have been working to find these four lost children of my grandmother and her first husband. The Blunt children have been on my mind frequently while I have been researching mother’s Coon siblings. I have often wondered what happened to the Blunt children after their mother Mary Lavenia died after 1920 but before 1930. There were four surviving Blunt children; Joe, Jr., Luther, Julia Mae, and Mamie. The three youngest Blunt children died in infancy.

Julia Mae Blunt was the oldest daughter of Mary Lavenia and W. G. Blunt. She is listed on the 1910 District 7, Beat 3, Lincoln County, Mississippi Census living with her step-father Clifton Coon, Mary L., her siblings Luther, Roan (half-brother), Mamie, and Morris Clifton and Mary’s oldest son. Julia was five years old on that census. Next, Julia is on the District 92, Ruth, Lincoln County, Mississippi Census living with Venie, her mother, Luther, Mamie, her siblings; Morris C., Essie, Janie, Alma, George, her half siblings; and Rowan Coon, her half-brother. Julia is sixteen years old on this census. Julia is now a teenager and in about four years her world will change forever. She isn’t aware of what will happen in just about four years. Nor are the other family members. 

Listed as head of the house on the 1920 census is Venie the mother of the children, so Clifton is missing from his place in the family. Where is he? What is he doing? While researching the Blunt family, I now have other questions about the family, and further research is need and will be another project for the future.  But, for now what about Julia Mae?

Julia Mae Blunt left Mississippi after the death of her mother and settled in Chicot County, Arkansas. I am working to find out why she went to Chicot County area, rather than going with her step-father, sister Mamie, her husband Edd and their children, her half siblings, and other relatives who went to West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. There possibly were relatives living in the Chicot County area for her to go there; and then later she married in Chicot County; however, after searching the 1930  Chicot County, Arkansas census there were no names that were familiar to me. So, the mystery deepens as to why she migrated to Chicot County, rather than West Carroll Parish with her family. 

Julia Mae Blount and John Henry Hunt married 29 Aug 1928 in Eudora, Chicot County, Arkansas. There are no familiar witness names on the record. John Henry Hunt's parents and their children were living in Travis County, Texas in 1920  and by 1930 they are living in Chicot County, Arkansas.
Marriage Record for Jno H. Hunt and Julia Mae Blount
Julia and John had six children, Charlie, Ernestine, Margie Lee, Alton Ray, Annie Louise, and Dortha Faye. I found Aunt Julia, mother’s half sibling, and her family and some of my questions have been answered, but there are several more that have come up since I found Aunt Julia and her family.  It has taken me about five years to find Aunt Julia and her family. It was worth the time and energy that it took to continue looking for her, even though it looked like it was impossible to find her. This has been a long laborious venture; however, I am happy that I didn't give up.  Joe, Jr., Luther, and Julia Mae Blunt now have their place in my family tree along with their other family members, 

Aunt Julia died in Seminole, Lea County, Texas. I was surprised to find her that far away from Lake Providence in East Carroll Parish. There are several years missing since the last time that I saw Aunt Julia and her family. I was about twelve years old the last time that I saw them, and they were living in Lake Providence. When I was growing up, our families would get together and have a fish fry. When Aunt Julia’s church had a revival we would go to the revival with her family and her sister Mamie and her family. Those were happy times with aunts and cousins. 

Texas Death Certificate
Julia Mae Blount Hunt died 21 May 1961. She is interred in Prairie Haven Memorial Park Cemetery, Hobbs Lea County, New Mexico. 

Created by: Carolyn Mackey-Byrum
Record added: Jul 20, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39682795

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Great Grandmother:  Nancy Musera Kelley Edwards 
Born 12 May 1848 
Died 19 Oct 1927
This photo was given to me by an Edwards cousin.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday

My great grandfather, E. Z. T. Coon father of Clifton Columbus Coon
Burial:  Union Baptist Church Cemetery, Lincoln County, Mississippi  Memorial  # 57892298

Monday, September 12, 2016

Matrilineal Monday

Latitia Bixler

Recently I came up with a plan to research my matrilineal linage. So, I am researching and compiling a matrilineal tree entirely in the female line; that is, mother’s mother Mary Lavenia, my grandmother’s mother Eliza Jane, and her mother or my second great grandmother Latitia Bixler, and a third great grandmother Matilda Barclay.

The matrilineal lineage or my mother’s female line has been challenging. There is no one to ask questions about the maternal line ancestors since mother and all her siblings are deceased. My ancestors were farmers, and the paper trail has been scarce for those who settled in Pike and Lincoln Counties, Mississippi.

The matrilineal lineage is a continuous line from one woman to another as far back and as many generations. The matrilineal lineage in my tree is a difficult one; however, I am a person who doesn’t give up easily and will work to find my maternal line ancestry. I rather stumbled into the information on Eliza Jane; I did a Google search for A. M. Ramsey and wife Eliza Jane. The results came up with a family tree online, and Eliza Jane’s last name was listed in the family tree.  Once I found out the surname of Eliza Jane then the research on that particular line moved forward, and I proved that Eliza Jane Burnett was my great grandmother was married to Asa Martin Ramsey.

My third great grandmother is as far back as I have researched. The matrilineal lineage is Mother, Mary Lavenia, Eliza Jane, Latitia, and Matilda. There is very little information on Eliza Jane, her mother Latitia Bixler, and Matilda. 

Anyone who has been researching for long knows how difficult it can be to research the females in a matrilineal tree.  It is more difficult researching the female lines; however, it can be done by using clues when researching them. A timeline is helpful when you gather as much information as you can find on your female ancestor. When you look at the timeline you will see the areas where more research is needed.

The most obvious difference between researching male and female lines is that women usually change their names when they marry or become involved in a relationship, taking the name of their husband or partner. You will need to do a thorough search of the husband and gather as much information as you can on him. Latitia Bixler was first on the 1850 Police District 3, Pike County, Mississippi. Latitia is twenty-three years old and living with Harrison Burnett age 34. There is one child listed on the census with them. Since the census doesn’t state the relationship I don’t know if this is husband, wife and child. Matilda Bixler age fifty-seven and Matilda C. Nettles age thirty-two lives with them.  Letitia’s place of birth on the 1850 census is Mississippi. Living near Harrison and Latitia are relatives Benjamin Goodman and his wife Elizabeth. They are also maternal line relatives.
On the 1860 Pike County, Mississippi Latisha Burnett is thirty-two years old living with children William H. age ten, Eliza age eight, Matilda A. age six, Charles E. age three. Her restate value is one thousand dollars and her personal estate is seven hundred. Living near her is Mark Burnett age seventy-three years old her father-in-law. Latisha’s place of birth was Mississippi. Also, living close by Latitia, are Lewis Coon and wife Nancy C. maternal line relatives.

Latisha is forty-seven years old and is living with Mark Burnett, her father-in-law and her sisters-in-law, in Township 5, Lincoln County, Mississippi in 1870. This is where Latisha’s trail goes cold. I haven’t found her on censuses after 1870. There isn’t a record of death online, and trip to courthouses may provide other resources for Latitia Bixler Burnett.

Latitia Bixler was born circa 1827 in Mississippi, and died between 1870 and 1880.

Research for Latisha Bixler Burnett is ongoing. ■
Lincoln County, Mississippi
Image from Google Images

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Census Sunday

Mamie Blunt

One of the many things that I have learned in genealogical research is that life is full of mysteries. There is no guarantee that when you research your family lines that the mysteries will be uncovered and you will discover the stories behind them. The mystery in my maternal line is the sudden unexpected death of my grandmother. There seems to be no answers to this mystery; and I have researched for fifteen years; and the answer is no closer than it was when I began my research. All I have is the story of a five-year-old daughter of the deceased, and few records available to prove the story. The only records that I have found in my research are census records and the marriage record for the first marriage of my grandmother.  My grandmother was married to a Blunt and had seven children but three died when infants. Her first husband I assumed died since he hasn’t been found on any censuses after 1900.  My grandmother married Clifton Coon about Jan 1908.

My mother’s Blunt half siblings have been a mystery to me. Mother often spoke of her brothers Joe, Jr. and Luther, and her sisters Julia and Mamie; however, I didn’t know what happened to them after their mother died circa 1924-1925. Mother didn’t talk about the parts of her life after her mother died and they left Mississippi. The children were young when their mother died. My genealogical venture has been research each of them and follow their migration path as far as it will take me.

This week I am researching Mamie (Mayme) Blunt the youngest of the Blunt children. The first census that Mamie is on is the 1910 District 7, Beat 3, Lincoln County, Mississippi Census. They were living on Brookhaven Road. Mamie’s mother was living on April 15, 1910. Mamie was three years old and her place was birth Pricedale, Pike County, Mississippi.

Mamie was living on West Providence Road in Ruth, Lincoln County, Mississippi in 1920. The all the children except Joe, Jr.  and including Clifton’s son with his first wife are living with their mother. Clifton is living as a widow and boarder in Marion County, Mississippi. Mamie was fourteen years old on this census. 

One lesson that I learned in researching this particular family was to look at spelling variations. From previous research I noticed the spelling of names varied from census to census. Also, the ages varied by two years in some cases. Nick names were used, as were initials, and first names. The county changes also are tricky; the family didn’t move the county changed. These are all significant tidbits of information to keep in mind when researching.

I don’t understand how the families who migrated from Mississippi to Louisiana. There was a flood in 1927 and eleven parishes of the Louisiana Delta were affected. People in the Delta were accustomed to high water years. The Northeast part of Louisiana makes up a large part of the floodplain of the Mississippi River. Were the Coon and related families here before the 1927 flood came? Did they come after the flood and was in Louisiana before the 1930 census? Further research is needed to answer those questions. 

By 1930 Clifton Coon had left Lincoln and Marion Counties and settled in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Mamie is twenty-two years old, married to Edd Ethridge, has three children, and the oldest child Helen is four years and two months old; Dorothy Lee is two years and three months old, and Calvin Edgar is seven months.  They were living in Ward Four, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana; and they were living by the Bowman family. That family be important in future research of another sibling.  Clifton and his family were living by his nephew and his wife. They were also living by an Adams family that is another name that will be important when I research yet another of Mother’s siblings. Clifton’s brother Edward was living nearby with Clifton’s son Morris and another nephew, Clifton and Edward’s sister’s son living in that household. The Coon, Hampton, Adams, and Bowman families all migrated together. The age of the oldest child of Mamie’s is vital information helping to narrow the death date of Mamie’s mother Mary Lavenia. 

Edd Ethridge had moved his family from West Carroll Parish, Louisiana to Chico County, Arkansas by 1940.  West Carroll Parish was an agricultural area. Edd Ethridge was a salary worker in Government work working on a road project in 1940. That was probably the reason for the move to that area. They lived in Planters, Chico County, Arkansas. By 1940 Edd and Mamie had seven children. Four additional children since the 1930 census. E. B., age 9, James Robert age five, Donald Gay age four and Billy Eugene age one. 

Mamie was last on the 1940 census and she was thirty-three years old. She was mother’s half-sister, but mother always referred to her as her sister. My memories of Aunt Mamie were of her as a tall “frumpy” lady; she wore her hair long; she was old in the eyes of the child; and she was a good cook. 

Her parents were W. G. and Mary Lavenia Ramsey Blunt. She is interred in the Lake Providence Cemetery, Lake Providence, East Carroll Parish, Louisiana.

I am looking for the marriage record for Mamie Blunt and Arles Edd Ethridge. They probably were married in Mississippi since their oldest child was born in Mississippi. The next two children were born in Louisiana. Also, I am looking for a death certificate for the two of them. There hasn’t been a Social Security Death record for them found as of this date; however, the research is ongoing on this family. ■

Higginbotham's This is It Garage, Waterproof, La. Photo: Courtesy of Betty Jo Harris.