Monthly Archives: June 2012

Walking Ancestral Land with Cousins

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Last weekend I had an amazing opportunity to walk on the property of my Higginbotham Ancestors.  The current owner, was kind enough to welcome us to his place and let us look around.

Sanford Higginbotham, my 3rd Great-Grandfather came to Arkansas in 1843 and settled in what was then Stover but is now Bucksnort in the Fordyce, Arkansas community.  He had 1,200 acres, a plantation, and ran a mercantile store all around what was then called the lower road.  This road ran all the way from Pine Bluff to Camden back then.  Today, this road is known as Dallas County 131.

This would have been a prime location for Sanford back then.  Many people traveled this road and it would have been good business for his store.

It also made him an easy target, as would be proven later, years after he passed away and the Union Soldiers burned his plantation down during the civil war, causing his widow and my 3rd Great Grandmother Jane Holley Higginbotham to flee into Texas.

But that’s a story for another time.  Today I want to share with you what I saw, and what I learned during this trip.

First, I was able to meet two wonderful cousins that I have been corresponding with for some time, Henry Broach and Lisa Higginbotham Guidroz.  Henry, a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their son John Jefferson Higginbotham.  Lisa, a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their son Joseph Green Higginbotham.  I am a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their son Rufus Francis Higginbotham, Sr.

We missed our Memphis Higginbotham cousins, Hugh, Joy and Marilee.  They couldn’t make the trip, but they are descendants of Sanford and Jane’s through their son James Oliver Higginbotham.

We also missed our Salt Lake Higginbotham cousins, Ray and Madeline Lynch.  Ray is a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their daughter Amanda Caroline Higginbotham Vinson.

Henry Broach, Lisa Higginbotham Guidroz, and Me

In this photo, we are standing on the 1,200 acres that Sanford once owned.   In front of us is the private cemetery where our relatives are buried.  Behind us, way back in the tree line was where Sanford and Jane’s house was prior to the Civil War.

Jenny, Lisa and Marci

This is Lisa with her two friends Jenny Cheramie, and Marci Brown who were kind enough to make the trip with Lisa from Louisiana.  They have been best friends for a very long time and I’m so happy they shared this experience with Lisa.

Justin Cole, Leslie Golden, Me, and Lisa Guidroz

This photo is of my son Justin Cole, my niece Leslie Golden, myself and Lisa Guidroz.  I was very happy to have my son and niece along with me to share the experience.  All the land you can see around us, once belonged to Sanford.

It was truly an amazing experience to walk on that land, knowing this is where it all began in Arkansas for us Higginbotham’s.  Then, to do it with cousins, was something I will always treasure.

The Cemetery

This is a partial view of the Higginbotham Cemetery on the property, you can see it is all grown up and most of the headstones are buried under leaves and such.  We stood there for quite a while and made plans to come back in the fall and do a cleanup.

Henry Broach

I love this picture of Henry.  He is such a sweet man and so knowledgable of the Higginbotham’s and the area.  He has researched the Higginbotham’s for a very long time and he and his wife have traveled to Georgia and Virginia collecting documents on our line of Higginbotham’s.

Henry was kind enough to take us on an ancestral tour of Fordyce.  The one major thing I learned from Henry that I had no idea about was the mercantile store that Sanford owned.  After Sanford died in 1851, Sanford’s son John Jefferson Higginbotham, took the store over, and administered the plantation until he died in 1860 from Typhoid Fever.  John Jefferson Higginbotham is buried there on Sanford’s old plantation.

Sanford’s Mercantile Store formerly located at the corner of what is now Hwy 8, and Dallas Co. 131.  There is nothing but trees standing there now where the store once stood.

Where Sanford’s Mercantile Store used to be

Now I have a big surprise for all you John J. and Sarah (Wyatt) Higginbotham researchers. John J. and Sarah lived in a house behind where the store used to be.

It is still standing.

Barely. But it’s there.

Old Home place of John Jefferson and Sarah Wyatt Higginbotham

Now, for you avid Wyatt researchers, the parents of Sarah Wyatt – John J. and Elizabeth Wyatt lived across the road from John J. and Sarah Higginbotham.  Their place is no longer there.

Hwy 8 and Dallas Co. 131

In this photo you can see where Henry is standing by the car, back behind him, is the old Wyatt place. The house that is there is actually on the next property, and the Wyatt house is gone. The place where the mercantile store was would have been directly in front of Henry, and then to his right, behind these trees is the old home place of John J. and Sarah Higginbotham.  I hope this gives you an idea of where they were located.

Next Henry took us over by the Barnes cemetery.  His mother was Erma Lee Barnes Broach, and this is all of her people.

Henry had a really interesting story about Seth Barnes, his great-grandfather, and the Union soldiers that burned Sanford’s plantation down.

But, again, that’s a story for another time, and one that Henry has already written up and as soon as I get a copy of it, I will post it here.

Barnes Cemetery

Henry shared this really great photo with me of his family.

Henry Broach family

In Henry’s words about the photo:

In the picture, the man on the left is, William Alexander “Alec” Broach, my Grandfather. His wife was Mary Frances Higginbotham c1857, daughter of John Jefferson Higginbotham c1825. Alec was born in Walton County GA in 1847 and the following year at age 1 1/2 he came to Arkansas along with two sisters, his Mother, Martha Green Broach c1817, and his father Jones A. Broach c1815. A very important link in the Broach/Higginbotham line is the marriage of Elizabeth Broach c1811, an older sister of the above, Jones, my GGrandfather. She was the wife of Joseph Higginbotham who accompanied his older brother Sanford from Chambers County, AL to Arkansas in what I feel was 1843. An interesting observation about this Elizabeth Broach, sister of the above Jones Broach, is that Jones and Martha along with Alec and the two sisters came to AR later in the early fall of 1848. The 51 day trek via oxen pulled wagon is a story you will love when I have the time to relate some of the details.

The woman sitting by Alec, is my Mother, Erma Lee Barnes Broach c1900. Next is yours truly, Henry Alexander Broach, Jr. c1934 and to my left is my Father, Henry Ashley Broach c1895. To his left is my maternal Grandmother, Lafonia Belle Stover Barnes c1873.

Henry also shared this picture of James Oliver Higginbotham and his wife Amanda Zinn Higginbotham.

Then we headed over to Bucksnort and heard more of Henry’s great stories.  Henry will be traveling for the summer but this fall when he gets back, I will get with him again and get more of his stories to share with you.

Thank you Henry, for the two wonderful pictures, and the tour of Fordyce. I’m looking forward to getting to know Henry better and hear all the stories that he has been working on for so long!

After this, I was able to visit with Lisa and her friends some more, just getting to know them. What a wonderful bunch of ladies. I’m so proud to have Lisa as a cousin, and to have this opportunity to get to know her. She brought me a wonderful gift basket, (which she didn’t have to do!) but I loved each item in there, and I will treasure them always!

It was a great trip, I look forward to more of them!

Susie

D-Day Hero – Captain Sam H. Ball, Jr.

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That’s my Great Uncle Son, Captain Sam H. Ball, Jr. receiving from Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery himself the Distinguished Service Order of Great Britain in a field in Normandy.

Uncle Son was among the first of those who washed ashore on D-Day despite being fired upon by the waiting Germans. His mission was to clear underwater obstacles on the beach during the landing. Half his men failed to land and 25 percent of those who did, were casualties. Those who were left, rallied around Uncle Son as he reorganized the company and led them into the assault.

In a letter home to his parents, Bye and Wevie Ball he stated, “I am very happy to still be moving around. We were the assault engineers on the beaches of France. We came in as assault forces, so you see we were first. Whatever you picture was true. Our job was to demolish the beach obstacles, which we did. We did a beautiful job. I am sure proud of my company. When they said, ‘War is hell,’ they sure said a mouthful. You know it’s a funny feeling when you get off a boat and are being shot at with machine and rifle fire. Sure, we were scared. A man who is not is crazy. They they start throwing mortar and 88s at you. It’s not good for your health. Believe it or not, I didn’t even get a scratch, but my pants were sure being fanned by a machine gun.”

Then in November of 1944, he added the Bronze Star to his medals.

This is a picture of Uncle Son, with his wife Melba on his right, and my grandmother Mary Parks his sister, on his left.

My grandmother was always so proud of him. Up until the day she moved out of our house and into the assisted living center, she had a copy of his DSO hanging on her wall. She told any and every one who would listen, all about it.

I’m so thankful I didn’t let her toss all this stuff out, and I’m happy to let you know my Uncle Son was a great man. He was always kind to me and I consider it a privilege that I knew him. He was a true hero to me, and to our country.

You may be gone from this earth Uncle Son, but you are certainly not forgotten.

Susie

How much is your finger worth?

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To my grandfather Earl Higginbotham, his finger was worth $307.04 back in 1919, when he was about 19 years old.

I came across these two letters from the U.S. Railroad Administration in the last batch of letters my Uncle Charlie gave me.

Then I found this reply from Earl’s father, Rufus F. Higginbotham Jr. to Mr. Jim McPhetridge of the US. Railroad Administration settling for the amount of $307.04.

I never knew my grandfather worked for the Railroad. I had found several pictures and postcards of his from when he was in Kansas City, but I had no idea what he was doing there.

After I found these letters I asked my Dad if he knew that his father Earl had worked for the Railroad, and if knew about any injury, and he replied, “Oh yes! I sure did. Daddy worked for the Railroad and one evening they stopped the boxcars in Mena. Daddy grabbed the side of the boxcar and jumped down, his ring caught on something on the boxcar, and his ring ripped his finger off. He could not get any help until they got back in Texarkana, and he lost his finger.”

I had never noticed in any of the pictures of my grandfather that his finger was missing, so I went back through them all, and I found only two photos in which you can tell his finger is missing.

Just looking at this one without knowing the story, I would have thought it was just tucked under.

This is my grandfather with my father’s first cousin, Lou Ann Brock Brown, you can see his finger is missing in this one really well.

I love finding these letters, I love the fact that the first letter up above, even mentions Earl’s grandfather, Justice Higginbotham, and about all the places that he tried to find my grandfather at.

Thank you, Uncle Charlie! These letters are a true treasure!

Susie

Find Me Friday – Unidentified Photos

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This photo is from an album that Butch Harris and Martha Harris Horn let me make copies of.

The album belonged to Mary George Hooker Herring Bickley, and could be anyone from the Harris, Hooker, Bickley, or Herring families.

The two men on the top look very similar, but they are not the same person because they are both in the photo on the bottom right with two women. Could they be twins, or brothers very close in age?

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

Susie

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