Category Archives: 52 Ancestors

52 Ancestors – #16 Howell Holley

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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 16, and my sixteenth post in the challenge.  This week, I’m reporting on Howell Holley.  Howell is my 4th great-grandfather.  I didn’t even know about Howell until a couple of weeks ago, when cousin Harry Short (Hi Harry!) sent me an email telling me he had figured out the father of our 3rd great-grandmother, Jane Harriette (Holley) Higginbotham.  It wasn’t until last week that I had time to sit and search out Howell and Wowza!!!  What an interesting character this man is!!

Before I go into the fascinating stories about Howell that I have since found, I have to share with you how I think we blew a long believed family tale out of the water when cousin Harry found Howell.  MAYBE.

You see, I had always heard that my 3rd great-grandmother Jane was an Indian, and had been adopted by the Holley’s and raised as their own child.  I had found all the Dawes Packet’s from her granddaughter’s family trying to prove they had Indian blood, which was denied.

I decided to look through my DNA matches on Ancestry.com and see if I could find any matches to Holley.  I found a 4th cousin match to a sister of Jane’s.

This is what a DNA match looks like on Ancestry if you both have the shared ancestor in your tree.

DNA Match to faye6746 - Holley McCoy Ancestors

DNA Match to faye6746 – Holley McCoy Ancestors

So, if Jane was adopted how do I match her sister Mary Ann’s descendant? Cousin Harry said he had this same match, and some others. I didn’t look for any others yet as I ran out of time that day, but I imagine unless all of their children were adopted and had the same Indian parents, the story about Jane is just not true unless Howell or Elizabeth was an Indian and the story got distorted over time. Who knows!  I know my DNA results do not show any Native American ancestry in them.

Back to Howell. The first story I found on Ancestry.com was added by Linda Newbrough to her tree in 2011, she reported as such:

Howell Holly added here as son of Jacob Holly, per information kindly sent from Virginia Holly, stating that “Howell Holly was the Great Uncle to Hazael Holly”. In tracing the line back, Jacob Holly Sr. would be his father. Her information comes directly from the Family Bible of William Wirt Holly, her father’s grandfather.

Virginia states the following re: Howell Holly:

“Howell Holly, Great Uncle to Hazael Holly, was wealthy, owning 300 negro slaves. Served in the War of 1812. Was a lad of 10 or 12 during the Revolution. The Tories came for silverware owned by the family, which…they had hidden. After refusing to reveal the whereabouts of silver they cut his head in several places. Still refusing, they hung him up and left him, but his sister _______? (unable to read her name here) cut the rope and revived him.
She notes this for future reference Nov. 21, 1921. This is from the Bible of William Wirt Holly, my dad’s grandfather. Per Barron (this is Lovic “Barron” Holly, b. 1908), my dad’s dad, all data came from Joel and Hazael, in reference to this story. Joel wanted to make sure that this data wasn’t forgotten. Hazael must not have been told that his father, Ephraim Holly/Holley, was paid as a LOYALIST/Tory. But, his father Jacob Holley Sr., was “said” to have been hung as a Loyalist/Tory/Deserter in 1779. Please see documents that I sent (hopefully) showing Jacob Holley Sr. did get paid as did Jacob Jr. (Ephraim’s brother) and Jacob Sr. (his dad), but this was after the date that was given online by Jean Holley Day, as a “hanging date of Jan 1779, so I removed the data from Jean Holley Day, as she was not able to prove the hanging and the South Carolina Archives Department, May 2010, has been unable to locate said “hanging” of Jacob Sr.”

Poor Howell was cut up, hung up and left to die.  I wish I knew the name of the sister that breathed life into him.  If not for her, I wouldn’t be here!

I think I will contact Linda and see if she would share the documents that were sent to her and if she has a copy of the bible that was referred to.

The next interesting story I found was where Elizabeth had filed for a divorce from Howell in 1848.  Here is the abstract of the court documents:

In 1787, Elizabeth Holley married Howell Holley in Edgefield District, South Carolina. In 1827 or 1828, after forty years of marriage, Elizabeth charges that Howell began an illicit relationship with Nancy Hodge. She writes that it was then that he began to beat her “with various Instruments sometimes with his fists sometimes with a hickory at other times with a cowhide and very often threatened her life.” She claims that Howell left their domicile, taking Nancy with him to Georgia, and then to Alabama, and abandoning her and their nine children. Later, the couple reconciled, but in 1830 Howell again became violent and Elizabeth fled for her life. Elizabeth claims that Howell now lives with Nancy and their illegitimate offspring, six or seven in number. According to Elizabeth, Howell is old and senile; and he possesses a large estate, including a “valuable set of mills,” horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, “a large quantity of money,” and fifteen slaves, five men, four women, and six children. Elizabeth, too, is very old, and unable to support herself. She asks for a divorce and alimony. In his related answer, Howell denies all charges of violence against his wife and denies that Nancy Hodge lives in his house. He counter charges that Elizabeth was a difficult, dissatisfied, and jealous woman, who made his life unbearable.

This was reported by the Digital Library on American Slavery, which you can view here, Petition 20184802 Details.

What’s up with Howell?  Deserting his family, beating my great-grandmother Elizabeth, how dare he!  I think Elizabeth must have been very brave to bring the case against him in that day and time.

I’m not letting ole’ Nancy Hodge off the hook either, she has some explaining to do!

I’ve looked to see what Elizabeth’s maiden name is, and it’s different on every tree of course. I’ve seen McCoy, Hampton, Seaton, but I haven’t found a marriage record from 1787 in Edgefield, South Carolina for Elizabeth and Howell so that is on the ToDo List!

And, technically, I haven’t really found any definite piece of paper that says Jane is their daughter.  Just the DNA test, but it’s a good starting place. I think I will try to see about getting a copy of those court records from Tallapoosa, Alabama.  Maybe there are more details in there that might offer up some clues.  Wouldn’t it be great if it listed Howell and Elizabeth’s children by name!

I found Howell Holley listed on the 1850 Mortality Schedule in the Western Division of Chickasaw County, Mississippi.  He died in September 1849, after four months of consumption.  It states he was 84 years old, so that puts him being born around 1765.

1850 Mortality Sch Howell Holley

1850 Mortality Schedule Howell Holley

This is how I descend from Howell Holley:

susie to Howell Holley

52 Ancestors – #15 Hellen Mariah (Dennard) 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 fifteen, and my fifteenth post in the challenge.  This week, I’m sharing information of my 3rd great-grandmother Hellen Mariah (Dennard) Ball.  Sadly, I don’t have a photo of her, and I don’t know very much about her.

Hellen was born on 16 Nov 1819 in Twiggs, Co., Georgia, the daughter of Kenady Dennard and Sarah (Spurlock) Dennard.

She married John Floyd Ball on 24 January 1837.  You can see her marriage record and census information I had for her on last week’s challenge post, 52 Ancestors – #14 John Floyd Ball.

I don’t know much more about Hellen, other than I do know where she is buried.  She is buried in the North Side Cemetery, in Lumpkin, Stewart Co., Georgia.

Hellen (Dennard) Ball Headstone

Hellen (Dennard) Ball Headstone

This is a short and sweet 52 Ancestor week just from a lack of knowledge about Hellen but I wanted to post about her since I posted about her husband last week.

We are moving right along in this challenge, I can’t believe this is week 15 already! Just 37 more to go!

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

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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