Pray for Arkansas

Posted on by 1 comment

Dear Friends and Family,

Last night, three devastating tornadoes hit the ground in Arkansas.  One of them was on the ground for over 80 miles and devastated the towns of Mayflower, and Vilonia.  One of the tornadoes came through a community called El Paso, just ten miles south of our house. As we sat together in the shelter at my Mom and Dad’s house, we heard a transformer blow, and then we could hear the tornado.  It was very scary, but we were fortunate that the tornado did not come to our house and we had no damage.

Several of my friends from the Vilonia area were not so lucky.  They have completely lost their houses.  There are 16 casualties reported so far, and the search is still ongoing through the rubble.

Please do NOT go to these areas.  Allow the city and county officials along with the National Guard to get the power lines up and make sure the loved ones are accounted for or recovered. After that, they will open for volunteers to help clear the debris. In the mean time, please call the Red Cross and offer your services or donations to them.

Please pray for these communities and that there will be no more loss of life found today.

Pray for Arkansas

Pray for Arkansas

Around the Compound – Busy Busy Days

Posted on by 0 comment

Ok, this isn’t The Hubs, it’s just me.  I’m sure you are disappointed and you were waiting for the next farm report, but we have been so busy, he hasn’t really had time to sit here long enough to do a blog post.

So, I thought I would just share some fun pictures of the compound, and give you a hint of something exciting to come, that we have been working on.

First, we have had over 50 baby chicks born this month, and we still have another incubator full waiting to hatch.

Chickies

Chickies

Chickies

Chicks

Here they are in their little home.

Chickies

Chickies

And here is one of my favorites, a little Bannie chick. She is the tiniest thing ever.

The tiniest of the tiniest chickie

The tiniest of the tiniest chickie

There’s been lots of playing around the chicken yard.

Chicken Yard

The Chicken Yard

Knucklehead plays with Amanda II quite a bit. Don’t ask what happened to Amanda the original. You could ask the neighbor’s dog though.

Amanda II and Knucklehead

Amanda II and Knucklehead

Knucklehead and Chicken Wing wished every one a happy Easter.

Knucklehead and Chicken Wing

Knucklehead and Chicken Wing

I tried to get Tori and Knucklehead to pose with Chicken Wing, but neither were excited about it. It’s still a good picture though.

Tori, Knucklehead, and Chicken Wing

Tori, Knucklehead, and Chicken Wing

And you know what has to be done when you have chickens around, the coop has to be cleaned out, which JT and The Hubs took care of.

Coop Cleaning

Coop Cleaning

The Hubs has done a lot of planting.

Planting

Planting

We ride around on the mule checking out our animals and gardens and almost run into fence posts just so I can get a selfie of us. LOL

Me and The Hubs

Me and The Hubs

Knucklehead plays a lot of basketball.

Knucklehead plays basketball

Knucklehead plays basketball

When he gets tired of that, he jumps on his pogo stick.

Knucklehead jumping on a Pogo Stick

Knucklehead jumping on a Pogo Stick

And for real fun, he rides his motorcycle.

Knucklehead rides his motorcycle

Knucklehead rides his motorcycle

The first clean up of the year, Knucklehead and I picked up about three loads of sticks just like this.

Picking Up Sticks

Picking Up Sticks

As a family, we took time to go for ice cream!

Ice Cream Parlor

Ice Cream Parlor

One of the best things to happen this month, was my great-nephew Skylar got to come for a visit, and he actually opened up his Christmas presents on Easter.

Skylar opens Christmas Gifts

Skylar opens Christmas Gifts

He had a lot of fun playing with chickies and looking at the hogs, and I took this shot of him with his Dad, Jonathan. Two peas in a pod.

Skylar and Jonathan

Skylar and Jonathan

He loves to be outside. And if you notice the ring around his mouth, he likes Hershey Kisses too!

Skylar on the swing

Skylar on the swing

He likes to pose for pictures too! Isn’t he handsome?

Skylar

Skylar

His favorite inside activity is playing with trains. JT helped him get his train track set up.

JT and Skylar

JT and Skylar

Speaking of nephews, my nephew Ben and his wife, Esbeida are expecting a baby boy, Benaiah, any day now! We are so excited for baby Benaiah to make his entrance into the world. Ben and Esbeida got this picture made and I just love it!

Ben and Esbeida Higginbotham

Ben and Esbeida Higginbotham

We went to Esbeida’s baby shower and I have to say she racked up the gifts. I think it will be a while before Benaiah needs anything.

Esbeida at baby shower

Esbeida at baby shower

After the last storm, we had a beautiful rainbow!

Compound Rainbow

Compound Rainbow

Oh, and my sunflowers are coming up!

Here come the Sunflowers

Here come the Sunflowers

The newest editions to the compound are Billy and Nanny, and we are in love with them already.

Billy and Nanny

Billy and Nanny

And last but not least, a little tease of something to come. We spent a whole day filming “Around The Compound” with gopro cameras and drones and I plan to make a video soon. Here is a still shot from one of the drone flights.

Planting - the making of a video

Planting – the making of a video

How cool is that?!?!?!

The next Around the Compound report will be from The Hubs. See you soon!

52 Ancestors – #17 Francis Hereford Williams or was it Roland Watkins?

Posted on by 1 comment

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.

Actor Maintains Role of a Lifetime, for 153 years!!!

This is week 17 and my seventeenth post and this is my most complicated Ancestor so far.  Over the last four Amanuensis Monday’s, I have shared letters with you from my great-grandmother Dona (Williams) Higginbotham to the Boullemet family in New Orleans, regarding the true identity of her father and my 2nd great-grandfather, Rev. Francis Hereford Williams.

The first week, she inquired with the New Orleans Post Office as to their whereabouts. The second week, the post office responded and so did a Boullemet.  The third week, she wrote to Mrs. Bartels, the daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth Boullemet, who wasn’t exactly overjoyed to hear from her.  The fourth and final week, Mrs. Bartels responds that she and her sister wouldn’t be burdened with a cause to which they weren’t called, and Dona responds most elegantly.  

This is the story as I have pieced it together, and then I will tell you how I came to this conclusion, and the results of my still ongoing research.

Grandfather, Rev. Williams

Grandfather, Rev. Williams

Imagine this, it’s 1862 – you’re in the heat of the battle during the war between the states, you get shot in the head, and everything goes dark.

You sleep, and your mind sinks into dark and gloomy places and your dreams are half crazed.  You pray and fight to reach the sunlight, and suddenly you are awake.

But the recovery is hard and you try to go back to your old life, but things just aren’t the same.  The wound has changed everything.  Your thoughts, the direction you want your life to go and you realize that this is no longer the life you want.

So one day, after a performance, you walk off the stage and you never look back.  You leave your old life behind and start afresh.

You meet a worthy woman, marry her, and have two delightful daughters.  You change your whole life, become a minister and spread the word of God.

Dona (Williams) Higginbotham, Mildred (Martin) Williams, Minnie (Williams) Hooks

Dona (Williams) Higginbotham, Mildred (Martin) Williams, Minnie (Williams) Hooks

But, your old head wound dogs you and maybe your past is chasing you.  Never relenting. You kiss your wife and children goodbye at the train station and check into the Confederate Home at Austin, Texas hoping for some relief, anything to help restore your mind to the plain it once occupied and the man you used to be.

Letter from FH Williams, dated 27 Oct 1890 from Confederate Home in Austin, Texas.  Addressed to his dear wife.

Letter from FH Williams, dated 27 Oct 1890 from Confederate Home in Austin, Texas. Addressed to his dear wife.

You check in on August 15, 1890 and you give them your name, “F.H. Williams”, Physician, born 1839 in Missouri a member of company “E” 1st Louisiana Volunteer Infantry Wright’s, and you list your kidney disease.

Confederate Home Register, FA Williams

Confederate Home Register, FA Williams

You write home often, missing your wife and children terribly but treatments work and you become the man you once were, able to provide for your family again, and you reassure your family of improved health, and soon you leave the Confederate Home on February 16, 1891.

Letter from Rev. Williams dated Oct 26th 1890

Letter from Rev. Williams dated Oct 26th 1890, addressed to his darling wife.

Time goes by, your life is happy but the darkness of your mind returns and you decide to share some details with your family of your past hoping to ease the pain and guilt of a past life given up.

They try to locate your family to no avail. [See letters listed above in the Amanuensis Monday links]

The wound continues to put unbearable pressure on your brain, and you have surgery to relieve the pressure.  There is no relief and you succumb to your old head wound, fifty-five years after it happened.

FH Williams Death Certificate

F H Williams Death Certificate

Ok, so I don’t know how he changed his name or why he did.  But, I believe he changed his name and I will list the reasons why I think so.

Let’s take a look at some of the finer points of the letters I shared with you.

In 1917, you don’t just google up some names and hope they might have a missing relative you can claim as your own father.  When Dona inquires to the post office in New Orleans, I believe there is no other way she could have known the details of this family unless her father truly had knowledge of them and believed them to be his family.

Mrs. Bartels, states that her mother’s family name was “Watkins” not “Williams”.

Mrs. Bartels states that her grandfather, a most worthy man, broken-hearted thro the conduct of an only son, totally blinded by sun stroke was not a wealthy man, that her grandparents were absolute dependents upon her father (Stephen Boullemet) for about 30 years, and both rest in their family tomb. So let’s start with them.

When I first read the letters, I always felt the answer could be found within the family tomb. In 2012 on a trip to New Orleans, my sister BJ, and her daughter Leslie tried desperately to find the family tomb, but couldn’t.  They weren’t posted on Find A Grave either.  When I started posting the letters for Amanuensis Monday, I started just double checking everyone on ancestry.com and I noticed a little green leaf flashing up on Stephen Boullemet indicating there was a new hint.  Boosh!  Someone posted a photo of the family tomb of Stephen Boullemet on Find A Grave, which ended up being in the Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery in New Orleans, which is closed to the public and explains why they couldn’t find it.

Here is a photo of the door of the tomb.

Boullemet Family Tomb

Boullemet Family Tomb

Interesting!  So if Elizabeth was indeed a Watkins, and her parents were buried in the Family tomb, then her parents must be Thomas and Eleanor Watkins. And look who else is in the family tomb, Mrs. Bartels!!  She passed away fourteen years after the letters to Dona.

This of course prompted me to look to the census reports to find out what I could about Thomas and Eleanor Watkins.  I found them listed on the 1860 census, living in Ward 6 in St. Louis, Missouri in a boarding house.  And here is Thomas listed as blind from sun stroke, so this is definitely the right family.

1860 Census Watkins Family

1860 Census Watkins Family

So, look who else is listed with Thomas and Eleanor.  There is a Jesse, 21 years of age (same age Rev. Williams would be) born in Louisiana, and had been in school within this year.  However, there is a Roland Watkins, same age as Jesse (and Rev. Williams), listed that he was married within the year, and is listed as an ACTOR!  Then, there is a Jane Watkins, 23 years old, Actress, born in Ireland and married within the year, so I take her to be the wife of Roland.

Mrs. Bartels writes that her mother (Elizabeth “Watkins” Boullemet) had but one brother that reached manhood, that she never saw after the civil war. So, between Jesse or Roland, one will soon die, and the other one will soon disappear.  They are both at the age of 21, so are they twins?  Could one be a cousin or nephew of Thomas, and not a son? The age of 21 seems like manhood to me though, so that makes me lean toward one of them not being a son, but odd they are the same age.

Mrs. Bartels said her uncle married secretly a young woman employed and trusted by her parents, Stephen and Elizabeth Boullemet.  I headed over to Familysearch.org and found Roland B. Watkins, married to a Jane Casseldy on 12 Dec 1859, in the Louisiana Marriages, 1816-1906 Index.  So, that was within the year of the 1860 census, so I was right, Jane is Roland’s wife.

Having found no more information on the Jesse Watkins that was listed in the 1860 census, I lean more toward the fact that Roland is Rev. Williams.

Back to Jane and Roland, I wonder could Jane have worked for Stephen and Elizabeth Boullemet?  I know her occupation is listed here on the 1860 census as an actress, but I find her on the 1880 census, listed as a widow, and a servant in the home of Edward Hart.

1880 Census Jane Watkins

1880 Census Jane Watkins

Maybe it’s possible she was a servant to the Boullemet’s, Roland met her and they eloped and became actors.

Thanks to Kookie, she found a couple of news articles reporting the acting career of Mr. and Mrs. Watkins.

Mr and Mrs Watkins - Olympic Theater 10 Jun 1866

Mr and Mrs Watkins – Olympic Theater 10 Jun 1866

Mr and Mrs Harry Watkins actors

Mr and Mrs Harry Watkins actors

Amusements 1868 Watkins

Amusements 1868 Watkins

I also found it every interesting that he was referred to in one of those articles, as Harry Watkins.  In a letter dated 1910, addressed to Mrs. F.H. Williams, her niece refers to F.H. Williams as Uncle Harry.  I sure wish I knew what bad luck she referred to!

Letter to Mildred dated 16 Feb 1910

Letter to Mildred dated 16 Feb 1910

I never found Rev. Williams in the regiment he listed when he checked into the Confederate Home, but guess who I did find?  Roland Watkins!

Rowland Watkins CSA

Rowland Watkins CSA

I was confused when looking for information on this regiment, because Rev. Williams listed it as Wright’s on the Confederate Home register, but I saw someone post in a forum that this regiment was sent to Virginia and were divided up to many companies, and there was one listed as Wrights, so it’s possible that he transferred to the Army of of Northern Virginia. I haven’t found proof of this yet, as far as muster rolls, but I did find this sentence in one of Rev. Williams’ letters home, where he says his problems were due to his service with the Army of Northern Virginia.

Letter to Gov Hogg from FHW Nov 18 1890

Letter to Gov Hogg from FHW Nov 18 1890

Now, as far as the service of Roland Watkins, his muster rolls list him as deserted in 1862. Is it possible though, he had the head wound and laid somewhere unable to give his name? Or maybe he was transferred to Northern Virginia and paperwork never made to his regiment? More research will have to be done here to see if I can find any records of Roland in the Army of Northern Virginia, or Rev. Williams.

I don’t know what happened to prompt Rev. Williams to change his name. Maybe Jane drove him crazy. If she was truly a servant, then an actress, and maybe she was wild and Rev. Williams couldn’t take it anymore and since his family had disowned him, he left. Maybe he divorced her and left. Maybe he just left and she listed herself as a widow. I did find this about her.

Jane Watkins suspicious character

Jane Watkins suspicious character

So, did Roland become Rev. Williams and maintain the role of a lifetime? You tell me! This is so far-fetched I don’t know whether to seek help with a certified genealogist or with Jerry Springer!!

I do know I have more research to do. I need to find out more about Jesse Watkins, I need to see if I can find a death for Roland since Jane was listed as a widow. Any more suggestions on where or what I could look at to prove or disprove this?

I’ll just close this weeks 52 Ancestor Post by saying, I wish I could tell you this was about Rev. Williams, but it’s possible it was about Roland Watkins and it’s highly possible it’s not really about either one!

Are you confused yet? I am! :)

Yesterday was one of the most AWESOME days EVER in my family history world.

Posted on by 4 comments

Wanna know why? First, I received the DNA kit in the mail from Ancestry.com, got Mom to do her spitting in the tube, and got it back in the mail! Can’t wait to see how her results compare to mine. Then, I received a disc in the mail with a lot of genealogy information on it from my 3rd cousin, Jim Dawson.

This jewel of a picture was among the documents.

Kenady Wade Ball Family Photo

Kenady Wade Ball Family Photo

Standing, left to right: Samuel Hartwell “Bye” Ball, Venetia Juanita “Nyta” (Ball) Barrow. Sitting, left to right: James David “Dave” Ball, Kenady Wade Ball, Venetia Clarissa (Smith) Ball. Child in the lap of Kenady is Mamie Hoskins (Ball) Destree, and the child standing is Henrie Venetia (Ball) Payne, both are daughters of John Franklin Ball, son of Kenady and Venetia Ball.

Since 2007, I have been hoping to find a picture of Kenady Wade Ball, my 2nd-great grandfather. I had pictures of his wife Venetia when she was older, but none of her at this age. It’s also really cool that my great-grandfather, Bye Ball is in the photo as well.

I wish I had a nickel for every person that told me there probably wasn’t a picture of him.

I say, “Never give up!”

You just don’t know what all of your cousins have information out there, and what they have.

P.S. I thought this blog post was already posted, but it never did, I found it in the drafts. So, it should have posted on the 22nd, which is why the post is dated like it is, but just posted today.  April 21st was actually the best day ever for my family history! :)

Amanuensis Monday – Letters From The Past

Posted on by 0 comment

For the past three weeks, I have shared with you letters my great-grandmother Dona had written to New Orleans in search of the Boullemet family.  The first week, she inquired with the New Orleans Post Office as to their whereabouts.  The second week, the post office responded and so did a Boullemet.  The third week, she wrote to Mrs. Bartels, the daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth Boullemet, who wasn’t exactly overjoyed to hear from her.

This week, it gets real with the final two letters.  I say the final two, but there are obviously letters that didn’t get saved, or Dona didn’t keep a copy of one she sent to Mrs. Bartels because the next letter is again from Mrs. Bartels and it appears that she had received one from Dona we don’t have a copy of.

This is the man in question, my 2nd great-grandfather Rev. F.H. Williams.

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams

He looks like a Reverend, doesn’t he?

Here we go, the last letter to be found from Mrs. Bartels:

From Mrs. Bartels to Dona Higginbotham

From Mrs. Bartels to Dona Higginbotham

Transcribed:

New Orleans Dec 6th /17

Mrs. R.F. Higginbotham

Dear Madam

Again I am compelled to say I have no connection by the name of Williams, either by blood or marriage, or ever have had.  As regards the picture it would be folly to attempt to trace any resemblance in a grey-haired man to my lost one.

My mother’s brother was not seen after the close of the civil war by my parents was heard from once thro an incident in his life reported in the daily paper, and none to his credit.

I never heard of any other bearing my father’s name.  My grandfather, a most worthy man, broken-hearted thro the conduct of an only son, totally blinded by sun-stroke was not a wealthy man, he with my grandmother were absolute dependents upon my father for about thirty years and both rest in our family tomb.

I trust this may fully satisfy you that I do not know Mr. Williams and were he my mother’s brother indeed, neither my sister or myself are able or willing to accept a burden to which we are not called.

Respectfully,

Mrs. A.A. Bartels.

WOW, Lady!!!!!

Tell us how you really feel!

If I had lived back then, I would have had plenty to say back to her, but get a load of what my great-grandmother Dona said back to her.  I couldn’t have said it any better or more refined than she did.

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 01

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 01

 

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 02

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 02

 

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 03

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 03

Transcribed:

My Dear Mrs. Bartels,

Imagine my surprise when I received your letter telling me that if my father were your mother’s brother you nor your sister were willing or able to be burdened with him. I am hastening to assure you that such a thought had never entered my mind. My sister and I are amply able and willing to take care of our father and our only fear is that we may not have him to take care of many days longer as he is extremely feeble and though he may not have been a credit to his family in his younger days, he is now considered a very refined and polished gentlemen among his circle of friends and acquaintances. He clearly shows the culture of his early training. We have never published his mental misfortune our friends know very little of his real condition.

My mother is a direct descendant of the Courtney’s, one of the best known families of S.C. Should it ever become necessary for any member of my family to secure credentials for my purpose I feel reasonably certain that we should find no great difficulty in obtaining such references right here in Texarkana. I am not given to boastfulness but I felt that in justice to myself I should try to make you understand that I am asking neither financial aid nor social standing but a very natural desire to know more of my fathers early life to learn if possible if the wound in his head is entirely responsible for his present condition or if there could have been any other reason for it.

I cannot help suspecting that my father is indeed your mother’s erring brother tho. I assure you that I shall not betray this knowledge outside my immediate family. He has frequently spoken of his fathers loss of eyesight caused by sunstroke and has other intimate knowledge of the family no outsider could very well possess as for the name, if he saw fit to change it, it doesn’t matter now as my sister and I am both happily married and there were no sons.

Possibly we shall be happier without further knowledge of our father’s past or his kinspeople. Yesterday my father underwent an operation to remove the pressure from his brain and it may be possible that he will have his mind restored sufficiently to tell us all that we need to know if he is too feeble to understand the shock the Lord’s will be done is all I can say.

Yours Very Truly,

Dona H.

BOOSH!!

I think Dona won my heart the very moment I read this letter!

Dona’s letter had no date, but the last letter received from Mrs. Bartels was dated December 6, 1917 and unfortunately Rev. Williams died just ten days later on December 16, 1917.

Rev. F. H. Williams Obit

Rev. F. H. Williams Obit

I don’t know if he was ever able to speak again, but it doesn’t appear that he was. How sad that Dona never got this resolved for her own knowledge, but had she not left these letters behind, I would have had no clue about the possibility that he had changed his name.

I’ll give you a day or two to ponder on the letters, and then I will share with you my research into the letters and tell you what I have discovered!

I think I now know who Rev. Williams really was, but I would like your opinion on the matter, so I will share all in the next post about Rev. Williams.

Prepare yourself, this is so far-fetched, it would make a good movie.

Or maybe an episode of Jerry Springer.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Bulk Email Sender