Tag Archives: Higginbotham

Amanuensis Monday – Letters From The Past

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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.

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

Amanuensis Monday – Letters From The Past

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For the past two 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. 

This week, I will share what I assume was a draft letter of what she had mailed to Mrs. Bartels, the daughter of Stephen Boullemet and Elizabeth Williams.

Letter 04 from Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartel

Letter 04 from Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartel

Transcribed:

Higginbothams
Merchants
Texarkana, Ark.

Mrs. Bartel.

Dear Madam,

Your address, 3506 Camp Street; was given me by Mrs. N.B. Boullemet to whom I wrote for information concerning the family of Mr. Stephen Boullemet; and while she did not state positively that you were his daughter, at the same time she left that impression.

If you are his daughter, will you kindly advise me so that I may write you more freely about my father F.H. Williams, who is very old and feeble and whose life is nearing it’s close?

If I am mistaken in assuming that you are the Mrs. Bartel referred to please pardon me, and if possible you would tell me any believe   [note:  this is scratched through on original document]

Hoping to hear from you at an early date I am

Very Truly Yours -

Then I believe she received a reply from Mrs. Bartels.

Letter 05 to Dona from Mrs. A A Bartels

Letter 05 to Dona from Mrs. A A Bartels

Transcribed:

New Orleans
Nov’ 22nd 1917

Mrs. R. F. Higginbotham

Dear Madam,

A few days since I received thro’ the widow of a relative, a letter written by you inquiring about the children of our Stephen Boullemet as his eldest daughter I am writing you. My three brothers have passed away, leaving but my sister and myself both widows. There is some mistake as regards names, my mother was Miss Watkins, not Williams, she had but one brother reaching manhood, whom she never saw after the civil war, he married secretly, a young woman employed and trusted by my parents; as his life had brought little but sorrow to his family there was little grief at his loss.

This is about all I can tell you, there is evidently some confusion.

Respectfully,

(Mrs.) A.A. Bartels.

So, there you have it.

Mrs. Bartels writes back and deny’s that F.H. Williams is any kin. But, this doesn’t sit well with Dona, and she responds! Check back next Monday for the final two letters! These final letters, you will NOT want to miss! I bet I get my moxie from Dona!

Around The Compound (Taters-N-Onions)

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Hi everyone it’s John again, here to bore y’all with some horticulture.  A while back I shared some pictures from Feb. 23, 2014 and talked a bit about adding organic material to the garden soil.  The next day, Feb. 24th, we planted our potatoes for the year. Once again I took lots of pictures and would like to share.

Opening rows using a middle buster.

Opening rows using a middle buster.

I started potato planting by opening rows using a middle buster plow attached to the center of my cultivator implement bar behind our tractor.  As shown above, I started out by plowing one straight row and placing each additional row by simply running the wheels of my tractor  in the track left behind when I made the previous row (above left). This makes the row spacing just right for future cultivation and weeding between the rows.  To cultivate I remove the middle buster from the implement bar and attach smaller plows at the attach points shown in the picture (above right and center).   These smaller plows will contact the soil right behind my tractor tires as I cultivate.  This method of laying out my rows allows me to drive the tractor back through the same tire tracks left behind when I opened the rows to accomplish weeding without damaging my plants.

Cutting seed potatoes.

Cutting seed potatoes.

After opening the rows for planting we cut our seed potatoes.  The part of the potato that grows into a potato plant is the eye.  Each seed potato may have several eyes so this allows us to cut the seed potato, usually into several pieces, for planting.  We planted about sixty pounds of seed potatoes this year.

Placing seed potatoes in the row.

Placing seed potatoes in the row.

We placed the seed potatoes in the open row approximately six inches apart along the length of each row and at the bottom of the furrows. We use chicken manure for fertilizer but commercial fertilizer may be used at this point in the process.  Something like 13-13-13 works well, however, a soil test can tell you exactly what you need to use. Keep in mind that if your soil test says to use lime, never use lime on potatoes.  A calcium supplement can be sprayed on the plants later instead.

Covering the seed potatoes.

Covering the seed potatoes.

Here’s Justin Cole, my step son, covering my seed potatoes.  Pretty nice of him to help me out with all this huh?  He spent a good part of his day out in the cold helping me with this potato project.  Notice he is using his feet to close the dirt in over the seed potatoes.  If we would have had a large field of rows to close, we could have placed hilling disks or closing plows on our cultivator and closed the rows with the tractor.

Hay!

Hay!

Hay to protect our seeds from a hard freeze.

Hay to protect our seeds from a hard freeze.

I hauled a truck load of hay to spread directly over the rows to protect them in case of a hard freeze.  Its a good thing I did too!  Not long after we planted this potato crop we had about three inches of solid ice and freezing weather.  The hay cover provided enough insulation to keep my potatoes safe from the freeze.

Oh Boy!

Oh Boy!

The above picture was taken Saturday, April 12, 2014.  Looks like our potatoes are doing well!  I have already had to spray for potato bugs though.  A small brown bug that looks kind of like a ladybug will eat the potato plants and bring the crop to spoil if not kept in check.  When I see these bugs begin to appear I spray the plants with insecticide or treat them with 5% seven dust.

A pretty potato crop so far.

A pretty potato crop so far.

The next thing we planted was onions.  About two weeks after we planted potatoes and right after the last hard freeze, my brother-in-law John and I planted a couple of rows of onions.  We started out by opening some rows just like I did for the potatoes.

Onion sets.

Onion sets.

There are a couple of ways to start onions.  One way (shown above) is to plant onion bulbs.  Bulbs can be saved over the winter just like many flower bulbs or they can be purchased from a feed store or farm supply in late winter. Onion plants can also be used.  I have also heard of people starting them from seeds but I’ve never tried it, maybe a future project.

Placing onion bulbs.

Placing onion bulbs.

I place the onion bulbs in the row differently than I do potatoes.  I don’t put the onions all the way in the bottom of the furrow.  I put them about half way down the side  and alternate them from side to side as shown above. This makes one row almost like two close rows side by side.

John H. working!

John H. working!

Covering the onion bulbs.

Covering the onion bulbs.

Above is my brother-in-law John covering the onion bulbs.  He just covered them loosely with a couple of inches of soil.

Onions coming up!

Onions coming up!

The onions did come up and are growing well. We also have planted strawberries, lettuce, turnips, radishes, kale, and about a third of an acre of sunflowers.  I will keep you updated on our progress in the vegetable garden in future posts.

Look forward to Pigs-n-chickens in just a few days!

John

Tombstone Tuesday – Leaving Rocks on Headstones

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When I went to Texarkana a couple of weeks ago, I went by some of my ancestor’s graves and replaced some flowers, and left some rocks.

Rev. Williams' Headstone

Rev. Williams’ Headstone

Yes, I said rocks.

I’m sure you are wondering why I would leave a rock.  Traditionally,  I believe it’s a Jewish custom to leave a rock when you visit a grave.  It means you remember the person you are leaving it for.  The way I understand it to work, anytime you think of a person who has passed away, you stop right there, and pick up a rock.  Then, the next time you visit their grave, you leave the rock.

Now, I’m not Jewish but I think it’s a great way for anyone, no matter the religion or ethnicity to leave a reminder that someone was there, and the person the rock was left for, isn’t forgotten.

In the picture above, you can see that the rock was painted and written on (I love you Pinterest), it says, “At Rest with God” and I thought this one was appropriate for Rev. Williams’ grave, my 2nd great-grandfather.  I also put the cross out there with the flowers on it.

I put flowers on the headstone of my great-grandparents, Rufus and Dona (Williams) Higginbotham.  I didn’t leave them a rock though because sadly I had forgotten the bag of rocks when I was putting the flowers on.

Rufus and Dona Higginbotham Headstone

Rufus and Dona Higginbotham Headstone

Next, over at East Memorial Gardens, I replaced the flowers on my grandfather and grandmother’s headstone.  I had already put this rock there sometime last year, and I was actually very pleased that it was still there, and the paint is holding up well and it still looks really good.  This rock says, “Until we meet again.”

Earl and Edna Higginbotham Headstone

Earl and Edna Higginbotham Headstone

Then at Harmony Grove, I put a rock on my great-grandparents headstone, Major and Mollie Harris. Everyone called them “Big Mama & Grandpa”, so that is what their rock says.

Major and Mollie Harris Headstone

Major and Mollie Harris Headstone

I also left one for Uncle Doc, Joseph William Harris.  His says, “Rest in Peace”.

Uncle Doc's Headstone

Uncle Doc’s Headstone

I couldn’t leave out my 2nd great-grandparents, James Ed and Martha Alice (Herring) Harris.  Their’s is just a painted rock with a bird on it.

Ed and Alice Harris Headstone

Ed and Alice Harris Headstone

How’s that for added flare to a headstone?

I think I’ll do more of these rocks and take them next time I go!

Thank you to Alix, for painting this set of rocks for me.

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