Monthly Archives: May 2012

Wedding Wednesday – Bill and Mary Parks

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This is the telegram that maternal grandfather, Bill Parks sent to his father, J.T. Parks after he and my grandmother Mary Ball eloped.

One of the few stories that my grandmother Mary told me about was her elopement. I asked her one day how she met my grandfather, and she told me. I don’t remember how or where she met him, because I was so excited about the rest of the story, that I forgot the part of where or how they met.

She told me that Bill told her the very first time they met that he was going to marry her, and two weeks later they eloped.

They went to Marshall, Texas and got married.

Bill and Mary Ball Parks' Marriage License

On the way back, she got scared because she told me her father was very strict, so she went back home to her parents and tried to pretend that nothing had happened for two whole days.

My grandfather Bill had enough of this, he wanted his wife! He came and got her, and they lived happily ever after.

According to her, anyway. I do believe her. They always seemed happy when I was around them.

This is my grandparents, and my mother just a couple of years after they were married.  They were on vacation at the Grand Canyon.

Mary, Mary Helen and Bill Parks

By the way, this is the grandmother that was going to throw all her photos and memorabilia away when she went into the nursing home, but instead gave them all to me. I’m so glad she did, because now I have this telegram to go along with the story she told!

In Remembrance On Memorial Day

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Memorial Day, formally known as Decoration Day, commemorates all men and women who have died in Military Service for the United States.

Officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, it was first observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on graves of both Union and Confederate Soldiers in Arlington Cemetery.

Traditionally served on May 30th, no matter what day of the week it fell on, in 1968 the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to create three-day weekends.  Therefore, since 1971 Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Things you can do on Memorial Day to show support for our fallen soldiers.

  1. Fly your flag at half mast from dawn until noon.
  2. Wear a Memorial Poppy.
  3. Attend a Memorial Day Parade.
  4. Visit the grave a fallen solider and leave a poppy or a flag.
  5. Make a donation to your local VFW lodge.

In remembrance of all of our fallen soldiers:

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Category: Holidays, Military | Tags: ,

Around the Compound

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I’m pretty sure I live on a farm now.

If I leave for any length of time, by the time I come home, I have new animals.

When I was gone on my research trip, I game home to these little piggies.

This is Ham, Petunia, and Bacon.  Petunia is here to stay, she is the cutie in the middle.  Ham, and Bacon, I don’t even want to think about it.  I just know I can’t get attached to them.


Yes, they are piggin’ out…  HA!  Sorry I couldn’t help it.

They are actually standing in their food bowl.

I told them, “You sound like pigs when you eat.”

Wait, What?

Oh, yeah, they are pigs!!

Our little chicks we got a couple of weeks ago are actually starting to look like chickens.

Do you think these two are plotting their escape??

Shortly after my husband came home with the chickens, my mother said, “I sure wish you had gotten guineas instead, I’ve always wanted guineas.”

So, guess what?

The Hubs then comes home with these. The suck up!

Thanks Mom!

Who is going to feed all these animals if The Hubs has to go out-of-town on another contract???

Ok, I’ll feed them, but I refuse to clean up any bombs left any where.



The Hubs has also been busy with my birdhouses.

I’ve had this bird house for about eight years.  It occupied a corner of my garage and housed spiders.  The spiders are no longer happy.  I imagine they were in shock when the first birds moved in and had them for a snack.

I’ve been asking for a long time for him to help me get it put up and so I’m sure he got tired of me whining about how my bird house was being ill-used and he decided to go ahead and put it up for me.

Plus he got brownie points and I quite whining.

Double victory.

But doesn’t it look pretty on the top of that cedar tree?

Then, The Hubs and Cameron made me this bird house for Mother’s Day.

I love my birdhouses, so thank you family.

Michael got me a really pretty hanging basket of flowers for the porch for Mother’s Day. So thank you Michael! (I’m a bad mother, picture coming soon!)

Our garden is growing too, here are a few pictures of it.

And, last but not least, the kiddo report.

Tori had a whole day in the pool by herself before the boys got here.

And it was a good thing, because Tori and Michael left all the toys in the pool on Saturday and when I went outside all the toys were jammed into the return basket and the pump was sucking air.

So they lost pool privileges for a day.

Sadly, I don’t think they cared, but I’ll let you know if I made any kind of impression on them whatsoever about pool rules.  I’ll know by whether they leave toys in the pool or not the next time they go swimming.

So, since they couldn’t get in the pool, they had to be inventive.

The boys rode their skateboards, and Cameron was showing off tricks.  Michael rode his trickless, and Tori stood over by Cameron’s truck and sang to them the whole time! Watch out American Idol!!

Please take a moment to notice that even though I didn’t catch it in the photo, all that dust behind Cameron is from a car that went down the road.  It’s important to remember that before you scroll down, because I swear that it’s dust from the road, and not dirty WIND coming out of Cameron’s rear!

LOL!  Sorry Cam!  It’s just that this photo was too funny not to share!

Well, that’s the Around the Compound report for this week. I hope you have been enjoying your life as much as I have.


Dawes Packets and More Research

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I just finished adding the rest of the Dawes Packets for the children of Jane Willis Ridley, the granddaughter of Sanford and Jane Higginbotham, through their daughter Matilda Higginbotham Willis.  You can view them all HERE.

This chart will show you how I relate to Jane Ridley:

I haven’t even gone through all of the pictures I took at the Fordyce courthouse for Sanford’s Estate, but that is next on the agenda.  It may have some clues, or answer some questions and now that I have reviewed all the packets, here are my notes and things I will now have to research, or find the answer to:

as of June 12, 1900:

  • Mary Jane Ridley goes by Jane, has black hair mixed with gray, dark brown eyes. Doesn’t speak Choctaw.
  • 60 years old
  • born in Alabama, Chambers County, oldest child to Matilda Higginbotham and Paul Willis.
  • Lives at Post Office Duncan in Indian Territory (for six years now), they rent lands to make a crop
  • Moved to Texas in 1858 from Georgia
  • Sanford and Jane lived in Mississippi, but moved from Alabama to Arkansas.  Sanford had lands in Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.  [Search Land Records in these States, I have previously only searched Arkansas]
  • Jane Higginbotham was a Holla.  [Really??  What about Holley??  Research this]
  • Mother to Jane R. – Matilda Higginbotham 1/2 Choctaw Indian and was 26 years old when she died in 1850.  [Research date of death]
  • Father to Jane R.- Paul Willis is also 1/2 Choctaw Indian.  [See if I can locate any Willis information in Indian documentation]
  • Evidence shows that Matilda and Paul were married and head of a household prior to 27 Sep 1830. [I show their wedding date as 08 Aug 1839, verify correct marriage date]
  • husband to Jane R. – W.M. (William) Ridley they married in 1858 in AL and they have two children under the age of 21, Homer age 19, and Charles age 14.  [Find marriage record]
  • brother to Jane R. – George Willis living in Atlanta, Texas.  Doesn’t know anything about his family, hasn’t talked to him in quite a while.  [Look for information on George Willis]
  • son to Jane R. – H.M. (Henry) Ridley, (43 years old) states his grandmother was a Holla, and married a Higginbotham and they lived in Mississippi.  He was originally the lawyer who represented Jane at the time she made her original application.  Wife name Lena, children Walter (21), Cleo, and Annie May
  • Other attorneys were Gilbert and Gilbert
  • son to Jane R. – William Ridley, (40 years old) lives where Jane lives.
  • daughter to Jane R. – Hattie Pruitt, (37 years old) husband W.S. Pruitt, married three times but has no children by last husband at this time, I think she does later.  Children to first husband [W.M. McDonald, and B.F. Glover, both deceased at this time], son Nellie McDonald, and son Leslie Glover.
  • son to Jane R. – George Washington Ridley, (29 years old) wife Georgia A. Holley  [Georgia’s father’s name is John Thomas Holley, related to Jane Higginbotham?] Children Leafy Mabel, Mary Leta, George William, and male infant born in May, not yet named.
  • daughter to Jane R.- Carrie Hart, (24 years old) husband Tom Hart.  She was born in Texas about 1877, resided in Indian Territory for nine years preceding the making of her application, she says she is 1/4 Choctaw.
  • daughter to Jane R.- Mattie Studebaker, (26 years old) husband Andy Studebaker.  Daughter Inez.
  • son to Jane R.- Robert Ridley (30 years old) lives in Lawton, Ok.  Wife Annie, girl infant.
  • son to Jane R. – Homer Ridley (19 years old)
  • son to Jane R. – Charlie Ridley (15 years old)
  • witness – Henry Byington a full blood Choctaw Indian Lawyer states that he has printed records of proceedings of the United States Court of Claims (Case No: 12742)  “Choctaw Nation of Indians vs. the United States” and that the name Holla is found in Vol.1 on pages 190, 436 and 437, as residing on certain lands in the State of Mississippi.  [Locate this information for confirmation, would be good to have a list of these Holla’s]
  • Court Claims this evidence can’t be submitted under the 14th article of the 1830 treaty because they can’t prove relationship between Jane Higginbotham and the Holla’s listed in the records.  [Research this treaty]
  • witness – Charles Smith [confusion about his true age which makes his testimony a little wishy washy]  He states he is 81 years old, full-blood Choctaw freedman, says he knew Sanford and Jane in AL, they spoke like full blood Choctaw and were recognized as Choctaw.
  • witness – Alsie Ervine – 90 years of age
  • witness – Charles Lane – 90 years of age
  • witness – Prime Harvey – 80 years of age, citizen of creek nation
  • witness – Zack Shoals – Berwyn, Indian Territory
  • witness – Cassie Franklin – Wynnewood, Indian Territory

And just in case you are as unschooled about this time period and what all was going on between the United States and the Native Americans at that time, here is some information that I looked up pertaining to the above information:

From Wikipedia:

The Five Civilized Tribes were the five Native American nations—the CherokeeChickasawChoctawCreek, and Seminole—that were considered civilized by Anglo-European settlers during the colonial and early federal period because they adopted many of the colonists’ customs and had generally good relations with their neighbors.

The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was a treaty signed on September 27, 1830 (and proclaimed on February 24, 1831) between the Choctaw (an American Indian tribe) and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act. The treaty ceded about 11 million acres (45,000 km2) of the Choctaw Nation (now Mississippi) in exchange for about 15 million acres (61,000 km2) in the Indian territory (now the state of Oklahoma). The principal Choctaw negotiators were Chief Greenwood LeFloreMusholatubbee, and Nittucachee; the U.S. negotiators were Colonel John Coffee and Secretary of War John Eaton.
The site of the signing of this treaty is in the southwest corner of Noxubee County, Mississippi in the United States; the site was known to the Choctaw as Chukfi Ahihla Bogue (Dancing Rabbit Creek). The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was the last major land cession treaty signed by the Choctaw.[citation needed] With ratification by the U.S. Congress in 1831, the treaty allowed those Choctaw who chose to remain in Mississippi to become the first major non-European ethnic group to gain recognition as U.S. citizens.
The Choctaw were the first of the “Five Civilized Tribes” to be removed from the southeastern United States, as the federal and state governments desired Indian lands to accommodate a growing agrarian American society. In 1831, tens of thousands of Choctaw walked the 800-kilometer journey to Oklahoma and many died.[citation needed] Like the Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Seminole who followed them, the Choctaw attempted to resurrect their traditional lifestyle and government in their new homeland.

The Choctaw at this crucial time became two distinct groups: the Nation in Oklahoma and the Tribe in Mississippi. The nation retained its autonomy to regulate itself, but the tribe left in Mississippi had to submit to state and U.S. laws. Under article XIV, in 1830 the Mississippi Choctaws became the first major non-European ethnic group to gain U.S. citizenship.[6][7] The Choctaw sought to elect a representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was one of the largest land transfers ever signed between the United States Government and American Indians in time of peace. The Choctaw ceded their remaining traditional homeland to the United States. Article 14 allowed for some Choctaw to remain in the state of Mississippi, if they wanted to become citizens:

“ART. XIV. Each Choctaw head of a family being desirous to remain and become a citizen of the States, shall be permitted to do so, by signifying his intention to the Agent within six months from the ratification of this Treaty, and he or she shall thereupon be entitled to a reservation of one section of six hundred and forty acres of land, to be bounded by sectional lines of survey; in like manner shall be entitled to one half that quantity for each unmarried child which is living with him over ten years of age; and a quarter section to such child as may be under 10 years of age, to adjoin the location of the parent. If they reside upon said lands intending to become citizens of the States for five years after the ratification of this Treaty, in that case a grant in fee simple shall issue; said reservation shall include the present improvement of the head of the family, or a portion of it. Persons who claim under this article shall not lose the privilege of a Choctaw citizen, but if they ever remove are not to be entitled to any portion of the Choctaw annuity.”[5]
Regarding  the Court Case:
Late Arrivals in Indian Territory and “Net Proceeds Case”
Choctaws in small and large groups continued to travel to Indian Territory throughout the nineteenth century. Most were well received by their brethren previously removed to the territory and did not return to the south. Under the terms of the treaty, Those Choctaws in Indian Territory were eligible to participate in an annuity, which was supposed to be paid them by the United States government to cover the land lost in Mississippi and the costs of removal for those who went to Indian Territory unassisted. The Choctaws remaining in Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas were not eligible for this annuity. The annuity was never paid in full, but resulted in an extensive litigation in a claims case (Choctaw Nation of Indians vs. The United States: U.S. Court of Claims No. 12742, 1882) which came to be called the Net Proceeds Case. The records of this case include extensive testimony about the misdeeds of the U.S. agent William Ward, who breached his trust to the Choctaws by refusing to register many Choctaws who wished to remain in Mississippi.
These records are also full of testimony about names, relationships, and those Indians who did not remove. They are a genealogical treasure trove. Unfortunately, copies of the testimony are hard to find outside of the U.S. Archives. A hardbound edition of the testimony was published for public sale in 1886, but it has never been reprinted. The Oklahoma State Historical Commission in Oklahoma City has a copy of it, as well as an index. There are also copies in the U.S. Archives.

It seems to me that this Agent William Ward and the Government were in Cahoots to deny my Choctaw ancestors (and their people) their natural-born rights, the rights they agreed upon with the Treaty’s.

From reading all the above, I tend to think that this William Ward comes to town and doesn’t register my people.  Then, they try to claim their rights, and OH!!!  They aren’t on the list so they must not be Choctaw, so the government then deny’s their application.

I hope to find this isn’t the case after I do more digging, but it’s not looking good.  I mean how in the world will I prove that my ancestors were Choctaw, when the paperwork is not there to support it, and so much time has passed??  Has anyone else out there gone through this or had the same issues with your Ancestors?

If any of you Higginbotham researchers have the answers to any or all of this,  let’s work together.  That makes all the work so much more fun!


Dawes Packets added to website

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In 1902, Jane Ridley, daughter of Paul and Matilda Higginbotham Willis, granddaughter of Sanford and Jane Holley Higginbotham applied for identification as a Mississippi Choctaw.

In this application, she states that her mother Matilda, was 1/2 Choctaw and that her father Paul, was also 1/2 Choctaw, making herself also 1/2 Choctaw.

Family legend has always provided us with the story that Jane Holley Higginbotham was full-blooded Indian, taken in and raised by the Holley’s as their own.

I’m not really surprised that her application was denied.  She didn’t have her ducks in a row, and I imagine in that day and time, it would not be easy to secure the records that she would have needed to prove this.

Do I think because they refused her application that she wasn’t 1/2 Choctaw?  Absolutely not.  I just think she didn’t have the means or the ability to prove it.

I would be interested to know what your opinion is after reading this packet.  I have several questions after reading it, but one of the main ones is that they nearly always refer to the Holley’s in this report as Holla’s, and I was wondering if anyone else had knowledge of this name or think that this is an error??

I have added her report for your review, and I will be adding those of her children in the days to come.  You can find the Dawes Packets from the menu above, or you can just follow this link:  Dawes Packets

Hoping for some feed back on this one!

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