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52 Ancestors – #14 John Floyd Ball

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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.

This is week 14, and my fourteenth post.  This week, I will share information I have collected on my 3rd great-grandfather, John Floyd Ball.  I do not have a picture of him, and I know very little of him other than documentation I have collected and what was written in this note by my 2nd great-grandmother, Venetia (Smith) Ball.

Venetia Smith Ball's Notes Side 1

Venetia Smith Ball’s Notes Side 1

John Floyd Ball was born about 1814 to (I have no documentation connecting him to his birth parents, this is an assumption and you know what they say about that) Issac Ball and Sarah Wheeler. On 24 Jan 1837, he married my 3rd great-grandmother, Hellen Mariah Dennard, in Stewart County, Georgia.

John F Ball and Hellen M Dennard Marriage Record

John F Ball and Hellen M Dennard Marriage Record

On the 1850 US Federal Census, he was recorded as living in Stewart County, Georgia with wife Hellen, and children Frances, Kenady, Caroline, Sarah and Mitchell.  There was also a William Cox and Jos. Chavers living with them.  I don’t know who they are, and can’t really tell what his occupation is.  I believe it says William Cox Farms. I would imagine that John farmed as well since the 1850 Slave schedule shows him having ten slaves.

1850 Census John Floyd Ball

1850 Census John Floyd Ball

John and Hellen had five children that I know of, Frances “Fannie” (Ball) Jenkins, Kenady Wade Ball (my 2nd great-grandfather), Caroline Ball, Mitchell Ball and Sarah (Ball) Ward. Hellen passed away on 8 Sep 1850, and John remarried Nancy Templeton on 30 Dec 1852.

John F Ball and Nancy Templeton Marriage Record

John F Ball and Nancy Templeton Marriage Record

John and Nancy had one son John Thomas Ball and shortly after, John was listed on the Morehouse Parish, Louisiana Mortality Schedule as passing away in July of 1859 after suffering with bilious fever for nine days. He was only 44 years old.  There are some Dennard’s listed on this record as well, so I wonder if some of Hellen’s family was here as well.

Mortality Schedule 1850-1885 John F Ball

Mortality Schedule 1850-1885 John F Ball

Nancy is found on the 1860 census, widowed with John and Hellen’s children Kenady, Caroline, Sarah and Mitchell, and then her own son, Thomas.

I’m not sure what brought John to Louisiana from Georgia, maybe it was the slave trade.  I find several ship manifests coming into Louisiana with a John Ball aboard, but I can’t say for sure this is him.

I had a Ball cousin that took a DNA test, and we seem to tie into Isaac and Sarah Ball, but I have not proven any kind of connection to them as far as a paper trail so I can’t say for sure they are John’s parents. I haven’t found where John was buried either, so there is still work to do!

This is how I descend from John Floyd Ball.

me to John Floyd Ball

Tombstone Tuesday – Hughes Knight Cemetery

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When I started doing research on my maternal grandmother’s family, back in 2007 one of the first things I learned about was the Hughes Knight Cemetery. It almost seemed like a secret. Granted the transcription for the cemetery was posted out on the internet, but there were no pictures any where and to get there you had to drive down this and that gravel road, climb through a hole in someone’s barbed wire fenced on private property and then take your chances by walking west a mile back into the woods, and hope you had climbed through the right hole in the fence, else you would be a mile back in the wrong woods and no cemetery in site.

Hughes Knight Cemetery in Woods

Hughes Knight Cemetery in Woods

As you can see from the above picture, once you leave the road, you go north, then it’s west, and then north again!

Last week, I went to New Boston, Texas and picked up cousin Nell Blackford and we went in search of the cemetery, trying to beat a rain storm coming in. We went down the gravel roads and arrived at the log house that you are supposed to stop and ask permission at, but no one was home. Very disappointed, neither Nell or myself wanted to trespass so I took Nell back into New Boston and we ate lunch and visited for a bit, and then I left to head back to Nedra’s house in Texarkana where I was staying.

I decided I would try one more time on my way out-of-town to see if anyone was home at the log house.

Victory.

Sweet victory.

A very nice man by the name of Ronnie Adams, had just gotten home and gave me permission, and told me just where to drive my car through his woods to a little path that would take me there. He doesn’t own the actual land where the cemetery is, but as long as he knows who is back there, it’s ok. He seemed concerned that I was going out in the woods by myself but I wasn’t. I have my nine and my conceal and carry license so I wasn’t worried a bit. I could shoot a snake, any snake if I needed to. :)

Ronnie was recovering from a work related injury and had a broken leg, and I could tell he wanted to go out there with me, but was limited due to the injury so I reassured him that I’d be fine because I couldn’t pass up this opportunity, I had permission and nothing was stopping me this time! It was a long seven years to wait to find this cemetery!  I drove on out there and was totally shocked at what I found.

Hughes Knight Cemetery, Bowie County, Texas

Hughes Knight Cemetery, Bowie County, Texas

A very well-kept cemetery, fenced in, deep in the woods with some stones so magnificent (and taller than me) it would rival any town cemetery. I was expecting a little country cemetery with overgrown stones and I fully expected that maybe some of them would be missing.

Hughes Knight Cemetery

Hughes Knight Cemetery

Not a single stone was missing from the cemetery transcription I had found online back in 2007. Another sweet victory. Some are leaning, and some are down, but you can tell this cemetery is taken care of. The fence is nice, it’s mowed all around it, and yes, it was covered in leaves, but the ground inside is maintained. Ronnie told me that he maintains the outside of the cemetery and the land owner, Jimmy Smith maintains the inside around the stones.

Hughes Knight Cemetery, Bowie County, Texas

Hughes Knight Cemetery, Bowie County, Texas

I took a picture of every stone and while I was doing this, Ronnie, bless his heart showed up on his four-wheeler, crutches and all and showed me around the cemetery. I pointed out the graves of my 3rd great-grandfather, Alfred Gatewood Hoskins, my 3rd great-grandmother Mary Lucinda (Henri) Hoskins,  and their daughter, my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth (Hoskins) Anderson.

Alfred Gatewood Hoskins Headstone

Alfred Gatewood Hoskins Headstone

Alfred Gatewood Hoskins Headstone

Alfred Gatewood Hoskins Headstone

Mary Elizabeth (Hoskins) Anderson Headstone

Mary Elizabeth (Hoskins) Anderson Headstone

My 2nd great-aunts are also buried here, Martha Catherine (Hoskins) Eubank, Henrie (Hoskins) Wever, and Isabella Jane Hoskins.

Martha Catherine (Hoskins) Eubank Headstone

Martha Catherine (Hoskins) Eubank Headstone

Henrie (Hoskins) Wever Headstone

Henrie (Hoskins) Wever Headstone

Isabella Jane Hoskins Headstone

Isabella Jane Hoskins Headstone

It was really cool to talk to Ronnie, as we figured out that he and his family were very good friends with my great Uncle James Harris and they spent a lot of time together. It was very nice to know that someone close to our family is now the keeper of my heritage.

Thank you to Ronnie Adams for his kind treatment of me, and the care he is giving to the cemetery. I put all the pictures of the headstones on Find A Grave, which you can find here: Hughes Knight Cemetery.

It was just as I took the last picture of the last stone, that the rain started. I call this one lucky day!!

Amanuensis Monday – Letters from the Past

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I’ve told you all about my obsession with all things Rev. Francis Hereford Williams, so over the next few weeks I will be sharing letters with you which lead me to believe he changed his name, and just like every other human, had bad things in his past happen.  None of these things kept him from becoming a man of God.

First, I will remind you that he had suffered a gun shot wound to the head during the civil war and had gone to the Austin Confederate Home to recuperate.  I think my great-grandmother, and his daughter Dona Williams Higginbotham was searching for answers for his condition, but this will all become more clear as I share the letters with you.

This is Dona, my great-grandmother.

Dona Higginbotham
Dona (Williams) Higginbotham

Here is the first letter.

First Letter from Dona Higginbotham to New Orleans Post Office looking for Boullemet relatives.

First Letter from Dona Higginbotham to New Orleans Post Office looking for Boullemet relatives.

Here is the transcription:

Nov. 5. 1917.
Postmaster.
New Orleans, La.

Dear Sir:

I am very anxious to get in communication with some one who is a relative of either Stephen Boullimet or his wife, who was Miss Elizabeth Williams. both of whom have been dead many years. They had two sons – Julien and Will. and two daughters Mrs Rusk and Mrs Bartell or Bartelle.

If you could give me the address of anyone from whom I could make inquiries, I would appreciate it very much.

Very Respectfully,
Mrs. R.F. Higginbotham

Next week, I will share the reply from the New Orleans Post Office.

52 Ancestors – #13 Christian Karl Roleke

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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.

This is week 13 and my 13th post in this challenge.  Christian Karl Roleke, is my 3rd great-grandfather.  I guess I’m kind of cheating this week.  I picked an ancestor that I really haven’t researched and that I know very little about it.  I did so because I have been out-of-town all week, and didn’t really have the time this week to devote to a lengthy blog post.

Karl, which is the name I believe he went by, was mentioned in the article below because his son and my 2nd great-grandfather Wilhelm Roleke, was the mayor of Bethany, Missouri for 32 years and because of this I have found many articles about him.  This one just happened to mention his mother and father.

Karl Roleke in History of NW Missouri

Karl Roleke in History of NW Missouri

It basically states that his family was of the official class [whatever that means], he was born in the province of Hanover, Germany, he entered the army [what army??] at the age of 16 and when he met the requirements of his military service he was appointed to a position in civil service and later became a revenue officer [whatever that is]. He retired on a pension twenty years before his death in July of 1914. He was 85 years old when he died.

That small simple paragraph really gives me some good leads and quite a bit of information that I am very lucky to have found. However, it also shows me how little I understand German history, and I will really have to step up my skill set before I start trying to research German records. I’m sure the main barrier will be language and trying to decipher documents while researching. Also, what is the official class and what were the duties of a revenue officer?

I guess also my biggest fear is what happened to the Roleke’s that didn’t migrate to America before WWII? What was their role in WWII and do I want to know? I’m almost afraid to know, but I also realize whatever it is, it’s my history and I must pursue it and find out what happened to my family no matter my hesitation.

This is how I descend from Karl Roleke:

Karl Roleke to Me

Category: 52 Ancestors | Tags: ,

52 Ancestors – #12 Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley

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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.

This is week 12, and my 12th post in the challenge.  Please meet my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley.

Mary George Hooker Herring Bickley

Mary George Hooker Herring Bickley

Mary, is the daughter of Alfred Hooker and Martha (Clark) Hooker.  According to the family bible, which you can find a copy of all the pages posted here:  Bible of Mary George Hooker Herring, Mary was born 11 Jan 1835, and according to census records, she was born in Alabama.  Her father was listed in the 1840 census, as living in Franklin Co., Alabama.

Bible Record of the Birth of Mary George Herring

Bible Record of the Birth of Mary George Herring

Unfortunately, her death was not listed in this bible, and I have been unable to find when she died or where she is buried.  I have talked about this before on Tombstone Tuesday – Where is Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley’s Tombstone?

So, instead of retyping all the information I listed in the above blog post, such as her husband’s and children, and where she was when, I’ll just share some more photos of Mary that our family is very fortunate to have.  Thank you to Martha (Harris) Horn and her brother Butch Harris for kindly sharing the bible and photos with me.

Now, none of these photos were labeled, but from the ones that were labeled, I can tell these photos are of her.  If you disagree, let me know.

Mary George (Hooker) Herring

Mary George (Hooker) Herring

Here is a favorite of mine.  I don’t know who the lady on the left is, but Mary is on the right. Don’t they look beautiful? I wonder if the lady on the left is her sister?  The sister (Sarah C R (Hooker) Bickley) that was first married to Mary’s second husband?  Sounds juicy right? I think it was pretty typical for the day.  Her sister died, and years later after Mary’s husband J.F. Herring passed, she remarried to J.J. Bickley.

Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley on right

Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley on right

I’m also very fond of this close up of Mary.

Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley

Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley

Now, this one I’m not even sure what to think about this. Even Martha was a little creeped out by it when she was showing it to me while I was scanning other pictures that she was letting me copy. Do you think this is a postmortem picture of her? I simply can’t tell, but it has a little creepy edge to it for sure.  I think it’s Mary’s eyes that do it for me!  Her daughter Martha (Herring) Harris is sitting on the step of the porch.

Martha A (Herring) Harris and Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley

Left: Martha A (Herring) Harris and Right: Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley

I wish we knew more about Mary, but we just don’t.  We haven’t found her final resting place or her death certificate and I haven’t been in touch with any Herring’s or Hooker’s from this area that might know something on her or the family.  It would be wonderful if I could make that connection.

This is how I descend from Mary:

Mary to Me

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