Monthly Archives: May 2012

Research Trip

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Boy, do I have a lot to tell you!

Week before last I went on a research trip.

First, I went to Fordyce, Arkansas and spent a whole day in the court-house taking photos of documents pertaining to Sanford Higginbotham and his estate.   Sanford is my 3rd great-grandfather.  I’ll be doing separate posts about that, as his estate was in four “will” books, five “probate” books, and one “deed” book.  It’s going to take me a bit to process all the pictures and get them ready for your viewing, you won’t be disappointed though.

This is the Fordyce Courthouse that held all of the glorious documentation about Sanford Higginbotham and his family.

Courthouse Sign - Fordyce Arkansas

Dallas County Courthouse, Fordyce Arkansas - Front of Building

Dallas County Courthouse - Fordyce, Arkansas - side of building

I also went to the Fordyce library, and browsed their genealogy section, but found nothing on Sanford Higginbotham.

Then I went to the Dallas County Museum and visited there with Sagan Childs.  She has tried to help me before with other ancestors on my mother’s side of the family, and she is always helpful.  They had nothing on Sanford Higginbotham there either, but it was nice to visit with her anyway, and check out any new items in the museum.

Dallas County Museum - downtown Fordyce, Arkansas

Then, I left and went to Texarkana.  I went to Nedra’s house.

Nedra, always the gracious host!  I can’t tell you what a blessing she has been in my life.  So much of what I have found out about our family, has been through her efforts.

I wouldn’t trade Nedra for love nor money.

What??  I think I just channeled my grandmother Poo, she used to say that all time.  It’s true though, I wouldn’t trade Nedra for anything!!

We (I mean Nedra) went and fixed the pretty flowers that my Uncle Charlie put on Aunt Jane’s grave.

I just watched and snapped photos with my iPhone.

This was before:

Aunt Jane's headstone

Nedra fixing flowers

And guess what? I forgot the after picture! Oh, well! Nedra just shaved off half of the styrofoam and then the flowers fit down in there flush with the top of the vase. They looked good, the flowers Uncle Charlie put out there, were very pretty.

Then I checked out Mom and Dad’s headstone.

Yes, Mom and Dad’s.

Don’t panic, they are still here on Earth. I do have to tell you though, seeing their headstone down on the ground definitely set me back a bit. It’s so final, and yet inevitable. We will all be there one day. My problem is I want to keep them here forever and I know that’s not going to happen. But anyway, here is their headstone, and it looks really good. Mom picked it out, and she did a good job.  I’m glad it has their marriage date on it, that is great for future descendants to find!

Mom and Dad's Headstone

I spent a day at the library and found a few random things on a variety of ancestors, some on my mother’s side and some on my fathers. I’ll share more of this in additional posts. Also, Nedra gave me several things on her brother Erby, and I’ll be doing a post about that.

Then,  one of the highlights of the whole trip was, on a whim, I called the Highland Park Baptist Church of Texarkana, and inquired about my 2nd great-grandfather, the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams, as being the founding pastor.  HE WAS!!  The current pastor Kevin Meyers had all kinds of information and asked me to come by the church.  So Gary, Bessie and I went, and well, you will have to wait for a post about it!  It’s too good to summarize here!! But as a teaser, here is a picture of Gary, Bessie and I in the sanctuary.  We got quite the tour!

Gary, Bessie and Me, in the Highland Park Baptist Church sanctuary

Then, another highlight was, my precious Uncle Charlie graciously gave me all of the following:  my Grandmother’s clock, a clock that belonged to my Aunt Jane, another photo album, and a binder with letters in it spanning from 1890 to 1927, and an old photo of my 2nd great-grandfather, Major Harris, his brother Uncle Doc, and his sister, Aunt Birdie, all when they were children.

Clock that belonged to my grandparents, Earl and Edna Higginbotham. Thank you Uncle Charlie!

Aunt Jane's clock - Uncle Charlie thinks Maudie Cowan gave it to her.

Photo Album from Uncle Charlie

Binder of Letters from Uncle Charlie

And that precious binder will also get a post of its own because of the countless treasures that were in it.

Uncle Doc Harris, Major Harris, and Aunt Birdie Harris Williams

Then, I headed to Shreveport, and spent time with Kookie and Cheri.  We were going to research, but instead, we settled for visiting, reading the binder of letters and trying to decipher a very interesting find, which you’ll find out about later, and then I got to meet Kookie’s daughter, Kelly and her family and I just loved them all!  Kookie is blessed with a great family.

Here is a picture of Kookie and me, I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture with Cheri or any of Kookie’s family, maybe because I didn’t feel good, but I’m very disappointed that I didn’t.  I think I just got caught up enjoying the moment, and forgot to document it.  Sometimes, you just want to have fun, know what I mean?

Kookie and Me

And why haven’t I taken a picture of me and Nedra like this before??   I’m adding that to my to-do list.  Or should I say bucket list cause sometimes I think I might die before I get all of this dang to-do list done.

Anyway, this trip was a great break from the responsibilities of home, and I so needed the time I spent with my cousins.  I love them all, and had a great time with them.  I only wish I was closer and could spend more time with them.




Congratulations Liana! Junction City High School Graduate 2012

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Yesterday, my step daughter Liana Reynolds, graduated from high school.  My husband and I drove down to Junction City to celebrate this momentous occasion with her, and we had a great time.

We are so proud of her, and she looked so pretty last night.

My husband John, and his daughter Liana

My father-in-law Al, Liana, and my mother-in-law Glenn

Me and Liana

My stepdaughter Tori, my niece Hannah and her boyfriend Mark

Liana walking in, ready to receive her diploma!

Liana, Photo Op!

It's official, Liana has graduated! What an accomplishment!

Junction City High School 2012 Graduates, all 52 of them. Congratulations!!

Afterwards, we were able to catch up with some other members of the family, and I got some great photos.

Liana, with her mother Angela

Liana, Hannah and Mark

Liana and Maria

Tori and Nathan

JT and Liana

My step children Tori and Liana, and JT the photo bomber! lol

My step children, Cameron and Liana

I don’t know why or how I didn’t get a picture of Liana and her maternal grandparents, they were there and I guess I just missed them, and I’m sorry for that.

Again, we are so proud of you Liana!  You have a bright future ahead of you, and it can be anything you make of it!


Find Me Friday – Unidentified Photos

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These photos came from Butch Harris and Martha Harris Horn.  They could be Hooker’s, Harris’, Bickley’s, or Herring’s.

As always, if you recognize anyone in these photos, please contact me.


What’s Between the Dashes?

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Guest post by Kookie Hemperley

Sometimes, when walking through a graveyard searching for an ancestor’s final resting place, I am reminded of words spoken by a preacher at a funeral I attended many years ago. He said that one’s life is not reflected in the stone that marks the grave but rather the way that person lived his/her life between the dashes. So, it matters not the size or shape of the stone, just the dashes.

Many of our ancestors passed long before we know if they were kind, loving, funny, rich, poor, Christian or savages, but oh I long to know more! While I may never know what color eyes they had, if they were short or tall, maybe I can learn more about them by studying their stones. And in so doing, gain a little insight to that person’s life between the dashes.

What I have learned about stones is:

A grave with shells represents the final journey to the other side.
This one with a Bible on top and the gates of Heaven opening tells me my great- great grandmother was greeted by the angel depicted on the stone and she was a Christian lady. The opening gates represent passing from this life into her Heavenly home. An open Bible most likely is on the headstone of a minister.


These two indicate membership in fraternal orders:


Hearts and rings are symbols of marriage and souls in bliss:


Children’s headstones often have cherubs, angels or lambs which signify innocence:

Clearly there are many more symbols etched in stone:

Flying birds represent the Flight of the Soul.

Ivy represents friendship and immortality and the Dove stands for innocence, gentleness, affection, purity or peace.

A cross is an emblem of faith and resurrection.

A linked chain designates existence while a broken chain is the end of earthly existence and a three link chain is an emblem of the Order of the Odd Fellows.

A crown exemplifies the soul’s achievement and the glory of life after death.

Hands pointing up are the pathway to Heaven.

Praying hands are asking God for eternal life and clasped hands are farewells.

Occasionally you might come across pennies left on a tombstone or stones on the grave. Pennies are much akin to coins in a fountain, or offered to the deceased for advice. It is said that in the Jewish religion they do not place flowers at the grave but leave a stone noting they were there.

While searching for an ancestor that died in the Civil war at Vicksburg, I was surprised to learn that the National Parks Cemetery does not have any Confederate soldiers buried within the boundaries of the Park. The Federal Government did not recognize the Confederate deaths until after 1898. Prior to that date it had been left up to the Southern states to bury and maintain cemeteries of the fallen soldiers. Those who died at Vicksburg are buried in a city owned cemetery, Cedar Hill, and it is currently maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. All southern soldiers who were killed or died of disease during the siege on Vicksburg are buried behind Southern lines.

In some cemeteries which have soldiers from the Confederate and the Yankee regiments, the Confederate tombstones face west as a way to separate them from Northern soldiers. On another note, Southerners favored tombstones that were pointed at the top rather than round. That insured that no Yankee would be able to sit on their grave! They are rare, but do exist.

In honor of our families who lost loved ones, or had loved ones in any war, I submit the following as a memorial to them:

Recently I received an email regarding the veterans’ tombstones that are placed in all National Cemeteries. The video was shown on CBS Sunday Morning News and tells of the white Vermont marble used for each deceased veteran buried in a Nation Cemetery. The care and respect that goes into making each tombstone is explained at the website listed below:

CBS News Sunday Morning News (The marble of our heroes’ headstones) – IMDb

While I haven’t filled in many of the dashes I’ve located, I do feel a sense of getting to know some of my relatives better. Some were benevolent, some Christian, some champions of our daily freedom. Sadly to say, no how hard I try, some tombstones I’ve been searching for just aren’t there anymore and so there are no dashes…… no clues to help me understand my past heritage. But it does set one’s mind into fast forward when I wonder just what my dashes will say!

Kookie Hemperley

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Changes to the Website

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Good morning family and friends!

I just wanted to make you aware of a couple of changes to the website.  I have removed the “Genealogy” section, and if you had a link to a person in this section, I apologize.  This was giving me a headache, and it was causing behind the scenes problems with other areas of my website.  It was just too hard of a program to keep up with for me, and I had to keep contacting the guy that wrote the program to help me with it. 

Therefore, I went back to the original tree that I had on the website, and it’s a much, cleaner way for me to display my family tree.  Not to mention how much more simpler it is.

Now, you can search for your relative, or ancestor in the person index, or in the search bar on my home page.   This will also allow you to view anything posted in my website, related to that person when you search for his/her name, whether it is in the tree, or an article, picture or post I have made about them.

Thank you for  your patience with me, as I have tried to work around and find the easiest, most accurate way to showcase my information to you.

As always, if you find a person of interest to you, please contact me and I will share any information, photos, or documents that I might have.


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