Tag Archives: 52 Ancestors

52 Ancestors – #21 Joseph F. Herring

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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 22, and my 21st post.  Yes, I missed last week and so I will be doing two posts this week to get caught back up.  For this post, I’ll be talking about Joseph F. Herring, my 3rd great-grandfather.

Thanks to bible records shared with me by cousins Martha Harris Horn, and her brother Butch Harris, we know that Joseph F. Herring was born on 11 Mar 1839.  From other family stories and notes, we know his father was John S. Herring and his mother was Mary Elizabeth Sutner.

JF Herring Birth Record

JF Herring Birth Record

We also know that he married Mary George Hooker on the 19 Jun 1865. You can read about her here:  52 Ancestors – #12 Mary George (Hooker) Herring Bickley.

JF Herring marriage to Mary G Hooker

JF Herring marriage to Mary G Hooker

We know he died on 20 Jul 1875.

JF Herring Death Record

JF Herring Death Record

We don’t know where he died, or where he is buried.

There has also been some confusion about his name. Every record I have seen either says J.F. or what I thought was Jas. F. Herring. For instance, after finding the date of their marriage in the bible, I found the original record recorded in Lafayette Co., Arkansas.

JF Herring and MG Hooker Marriage Record

JF Herring and MG Hooker Marriage Record

Doesn’t that look like Jas. F Herring to you?

However, after finding this deed record, I know his name is Joseph F. Herring.  I’m not attaching all the pages, but it does go on to say the land was previously owned by John S. Herring, and Mary G. Herring also signs the deed with him.

Deed Joseph F Herring  to Peter R  Johnston

Deed Joseph F Herring to Peter R Johnston

So, all this time I thought his name was James F. Herring and now I find out it’s Joseph.  After finding this out, I found him in the 1860 census with his mother, Elizabeth, and possibly a sister Ellena.

Elizabeth Herring 1860 Census

Elizabeth Herring 1860 Census

And that’s basically about all I know of Joseph F. Herring. I hope to find where he is buried and maybe a picture of him someday. I feel sure that one of the unidentified pictures that Martha and Butch have is surely of him since there were so many of his wife, but since they weren’t named, we will never know for sure if he is in any of the photos. That is such a shame!

This is how I descend from Joseph:

Joseph Herring to Me

52 Ancestors – #20 Godfrey Shelton

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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 twenty, and my twentieth post.  This week I will be talking about Godfrey Shelton, my 5th great-grandfather.  I had originally planned to talk about Wevie’s husband since I posted about Wevie last week, but that all changed after my visit to the Daughter’s of the American Revolution headquarters in Washington, DC on Thursday.

Since my last trip to DC,  I had filled a huge genealogy chart for myself that holds up to 10 generations, which is enough for me to search patriots of the American Revolution. So I took my chart into the DAR headquarters, sat at one of the computers and started looking up all the men on my chart that would have lived in that time period.  I found three more patriots, including Godfrey Shelton!

Godfrey Shelton, Ancestor # A102775 was found listed on the Virginia War Rolls, Volume 4, page 341 as being in the Virginia Line Infantry.  He is also listed on page 872 of Historical register of Virginians in the revolution, soldiers, sailors, marines, 1775-1783.

As best I can tell Godfrey was born about 1760, and was the son of Josiah Shelton. The will of Josiah Shelton was in his DAR file, listing Godfrey as administrator of Josiah’s estate.

Also in his file, was this abstract from Charlotte County, Virginia regarding the marriage of Godfrey Shelton to Molly Williams on 2 Feb 1768.

Godfrey Shelton and Molly Williams Marriage Record

Godfrey Shelton and Molly Williams Marriage Record

Don’t you just love to find a record like this that lists a parent?!?!  Thank you for the hint , DAR!!!  Cause you all know how easy it is to track the surname Williams, right?!  Not!

According to the 1820 Census, Godfrey was living in Davidson Co., Tennessee and was responsible for 26 people; himself, his wife, five boys, one girl, and nineteen slaves.

Godfrey Shelton 1820 Census

Godfrey Shelton 1820 Census

On the 1830 Census, Godfrey is again listed in Davidson County, Tennessee, this time he has 36 people he’s responsible for, himself, his wife, a boy, a girl and 32 slaves!! Unreal!

Godfrey Shelton 1830 Census

I also found a copy of his will in the DAR file from Davidson County, Tennessee dated Oct, 1830 so he must have died after the census taker came by.

Godfrey Shelton Will

Godfrey Shelton Will

And that is it! And, that’s only a smidgen of what I found out yesterday at the DAR, because I found out about three other patriots as well.

As far as Godfrey goes though, it sure gave me a good start on him, wouldn’t you say??

52 Ancestors – #19 Wevie Henri (Anderson) 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 19, and my nineteenth post.  Please meet my great-grandmother, Wevie Henri (Anderson) Ball.

Wevie (Anderson) Ball

Wevie (Anderson) Ball

Wevie was born to John Edward Anderson and Mary Elizabeth (Hoskins) Anderson on 19 Dec 1884 in New Boston, Bowie Co., Texas. I blogged about her mother Mary, here:  52 Ancestors – #8 Mary Elizabeth (Hoskins) Anderson.

As I posted about her mother in the above post, her mother Mary passed away in 1891 when Wevie was just 6 years old.  This is the earliest picture I have of Wevie, with her father, John E. Anderson.

Wevie Anderson and JE Anderson

Wevie Anderson and JE Anderson

I’ve posted this picture before of Wevie with her sister Smithia, but I have to again because I love it. Wevie is on the left and Smithia on the right.

Wevie and Smithia Anderson

Wevie and Smithia Anderson

In 1892 her father John remarried a wonderful woman, Eva Dalby. She raised Wevie and Smithia as if they were her own children. I don’t know why all stepmother’s get a bad rap?!?  Do you?

 JE Anderson,  Eva Anderson with Wevie Anderson.  I don't know who the young man is.

JE Anderson, Eva Anderson with Wevie Anderson. I don’t know who the young man is.

This next picture of Wevie looks to be around her teenage years or early adulthood.  My cousin Sam has a huge portrait of this one hanging in his home and it’s beautiful.

Wevie Anderson

Wevie Anderson

One thing about it, she could have been in fashion magazine’s. Here she is with a cousin, Daisy (Wever) Missildine. This must have been some special occasion.  Daisy is on the left, and Wevie on the right.

Daisy and Wevie

Daisy and Wevie

While growing up, Wevie’s father owned the local Confectionery Shop and the Telephone company, and the switchboard was in the back room of the Confectionery Shop and Wevie helped operate the switchboard.

Switchboard in the back of the Drug Store in New Boston, owned by John Anderson

Switchboard in the back of the Drug Store in New Boston, owned by John Anderson

I bet Wevie knew ALL the town gossip!  Seriously, my only experience with a town switchboard is from watching Little House on the Prairie and we all know what Mrs. Olsen did, that ole nosy busybody!  tee hee.  I don’t know if Wevie did that or not, but I’m sure it was tempting!

I found this picture at the New Boston Library, in New Boston, Texas. You can see in this picture she has her ear piece on.

John Anderson and Wevie Anderson Telephone Operators

John Anderson and Wevie Anderson Telephone Operators

I heard a few stories about Wevie growing up, and one that I heard was told to my father by Wevie herself.

She said back in the day before they had cars, she and her family traveled by wagon. One day she and Smithia were traveling with their father and they needed to stop and relieve themselves. Well, there were no rest stops so you just pulled over walked out in the grass and relieved yourself. Well, just as she and Smithia started on this task, another wagon came by and Wevie jerked her dress down, but Smithia threw her dress up over her head. After the wagon went by, Wevie asked her, “Smithia, why did you do that??” Smithia calmly replied, “Well, they will see your face again and know who you are and what you were doing, but they will never see my ass again, so they won’t know it was me or what I was doing!!”

We’ve gotten a big kick out of that story over the years.

On April 6, 1910, Wevie married Samuel Hartwell “Bye” Ball. I found this wedding announcement in her bible, and this picture of Wevie in her wedding dress.  I think she was a beautiful bride.

Wevie Anderson Ball in her Wedding Dress Apr 1910

Wevie Anderson Ball in her Wedding Dress Apr 1910

Wevie Anderson Marriage Announcement

Wevie Anderson Marriage Announcement

This next picture of Bye and Wevie looks to be taken on a boat and it looks so romantic!  I love to see men and women dressed up like this.  This is not what society looks like today!

Wevie and Bye Ball

Wevie and Bye Ball

And how about this? You’ve see this in movies, but here it is in real life! How sweet!

Bye and Wevie Ball

Bye and Wevie Ball

They look like they really knew how to have a good time!  I love the bathing suits, but can you imagine swimming in that?

Bye and Wevie Ball on left other couple unknown

Bye and Wevie Ball on left other couple unknown

Bye and Wevie had four children. One baby girl was stillborn and the other three children were amazing people who were each very special to me. First, was Aunt Dorothy and boy did I love her, then Uncle Son was everyone’s hero and one of the best men I knew and last but not least, there was my grandmother, Poo, one of the greatest loves of my life.

I don’t know much about Wevie, but I do know that she raised beautiful children, inside and out.

Mary (my grandmother), Sam (Uncle Son) and Dorothy (Aunt Dot)

Mary (my grandmother), Sam (Uncle Son) and Dorothy (Aunt Dot)

One of the cool things that I  found out about Wevie at the Hooks library was that she had confirmed my birth to the family historian, Cathaline Stern, Man! This made my day!

Wevie Confirms My Birth

Wevie Confirms My Birth

Unfortunately, I don’t really remember anything about Wevie, but I was around her as a baby and toddler. In the next photo, I’m the baby on my mother’s lap and Wevie is next to her.  I love this four generation photo!

John HIgginbotham, Mary Helen Higginbotham, Susanne Higginbotham, Wevie Ball, Mary Parks

John Higginbotham, Mary Helen Higginbotham, Susanne Higginbotham, Wevie Ball, Mary Parks

Here are a couple of pictures of Wevie and Bye.

Bye and Wevie Ball

Bye and Wevie Ball

Bye and Wevie Ball

Bye and Wevie Ball

Wevie lived a very long and beautiful life, I’ve never heard an unkind word about her. Aunt Dorothy’s grandson Marc Burch told me he thought Memaw Ball inherited the Coke Float because she always made him one when he would visit her and it was the best he ever had.

Wevie (Anderson) Ball

Wevie (Anderson) Ball

Here she is with her children, in 1974 celebrating her 90th birthday.

Aunt Dorothy, Memaw Ball, Uncle Son, and Poo

Aunt Dorothy, Memaw Ball, Uncle Son, and Poo

Wevie died on December 3, 1975, sixteen days before her 91st birthday.

Wevie Ball Obit

Wevie Ball Obit

Wevie is buried in the Chapelwood Cemetery, in Texarkana, Texas.

Bye Wevie Ball Headstone

Bye Wevie Ball Headstone

This is how I descend from Wevie.

Me to Wevie Anderson Ball

52 Ancestors – #18 Henry Roberts

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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 18, and my eighteenth post.  Henry Roberts is my 5th great-grandfather.  I learned about Henry while at the Daughter’s of the American Revolution library while I was in D.C. last year.

Henry, born about 1766, is the son of my American Revolution patriot John Roberts, and his wife Susan (Magness) Roberts.  I came across their information because a cousin of mine, Cathaline Stern, the rock-star of genealogy for my family, did a lot of research back in the 70′s and documented no less than four patriots for our family!  I copied a bunch of information from their files while there, and here are the things I found out about Henry from the DAR file.

I found this bible record, which is really hard to read, but from this I figured out his wife and my 5th great-grandmother was Zilphia Carraway.

Hooks Family Bible

Hooks Family Bible

He was listed as an administrator for his father’s will along with his brother Isaac Roberts.

Estate John Roberts  - Henry as Administrator

Estate John Roberts – Henry as Administrator

Estate John Roberts  - Henry as Administrator

Estate John Roberts – Henry as Administrator

Then, I found this very interesting note regarding his demise.

Fate of Henry Roberts

Fate of Henry Roberts

I wanted to see if I could find a copy of the original newspaper article and I did.

Henry Roberts Death

Henry Roberts Death

I’m going to see if I can trace this Kenan Harper and found out what he is all about. There’s no telling what you can find out about your ancestors, and don’t forget to use the wonderful source of the DAR!! I would have not had any of this if I hadn’t looked there.

This is how I descend from Henry.

Henry Roberts to Susie

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

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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.

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! :)

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