I have decided to accept the challenge of Amy Johnson Crow over at No Story Too Small blog. Amy challenges us: 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. I think this is an excellent challenge as I tend to focus on my brick walls, and this will force me to fan out in my tree and focus on other ancestors.
First up in my challenge is Ben Martin. My 4th great-grandfather. Many years ago, my grandfather, Earl Higginbotham sold the house he and my grandmother were living in. The house is no longer there but it sat right where the gas station is in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Texarkana, Arkansas. The house was moved down the road and is now a restaurant. As they were cleaning out the barn behind the house, cousin Nedra saved a few things, one of which was a letter because her husband Jerry saved stamps at the time. Lucky me, because when I started doing genealogy she gave me this letter.
The letter, dated 1913 and signed by my great-grandmother, Dona Higginbotham, inquired to the Adjutant General about whether or not Ben Martin served during the War of 1812.
At first, I was wondering who Ben Martin was, but then on the inside of the letter, was a written out a lineage history of her sister, for my great-aunt Minnie Williams Hooks, Dona’s sister. Here it is:
The crazy thing is, Charles Augustus Hooks, Minnie’s husband is a 1st cousin 4x removed on my mother’s side of the family.
So I decided to see what I could locate on Ben Martin in War of 1812 records. Nada on Fold3.com but I haven’t looked anywhere else.
Then I decided to look and see if I could come up with anything on Minnie. Maybe she had found Ben’s record and was a member of the DAR or some other organization. Since I was already in Texarkana when Nedra gave me the letter I decided to look for Minnie and Charles’ grave. I found them at Hillcrest Cemetery, and what do I find on Minnie’s headstone?
A Daughter of the American Revolution symbol. This is good news because maybe she has submitted lineage and proof!
So I headed over to the DAR database, promptly found her application, paid for it and downloaded it.
Ben Martin was her Revolutionary Soldier, and was apparently not in the War of 1812!
This is what I found out from her application.
So, Ben Martin, married 2nd Melissa Highnot. I’ve tried at the time to locate some information on either of these two people and came up empty.
Then in August last year I went to DC and went to the DAR headquarters and was able to look in the file for Ben Martin so I could see all the paperwork that Minnie submitted with her application, and guess what? There was not a single piece of proof submitted with her application. I guess since she was a charter member of the Texarkana chapter, at a time when the application was good enough and no proof was needed so she didn’t submit any documentation. She did write on the application that she had heard stories of his battles throughout her life. What I wouldn’t give to hear one of those stories.
I’ll keep digging up information on them. Maybe one day I will get to go to North Carolina and see what I can find in Hyde county, or maybe I’ll take a trip to Butler County, Alabama and find something on them.
Here’s my relationship to Ben Martin and Melissa Highnot, and I all I have for proof is the paper written up above by Dona and Minnie. In fact up past Rev. Williams and Mildred Martin Wiliams, all my evidence is what you’d call shady!
If you have any Martin’s or Highnot’s in your ancestry, I would love to hear from you!
I think I’m going to like this challenge!