Tag Archives: Hooks

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! :)

Tombstone Tuesday – Rev. Francis Hereford Williams

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Rev. Francis Hereford Williams Headstone

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams Headstone

So, you all know my obsession with all things FHW, right? I refer to him all the time as FHW because I was saying his full name out loud everytime I spoke of him, and this totally cracked up Kookie and Cheri. So, now it’s just FHW.

FHW is my 2nd great-grandfather, and forget the Dos Equis guy, FHW is the most mysterious man on earth.


I have written about him before here and here, and yes I didn’t finish my series of posts on him, but I do plan on getting back to it.  He’s just so complicated.  I never found his death date, Kookie did  (Thank you Kookie, I love you!!!!)  after we had searched for a long time. He died on Dec 16, 1917 per his death certificate.  Then after we found his death certificate, I ran down to the Arkansas History Commission and found his obituary, and it was for sure him!

Rev. FH Williams Obituary

Rev. FH Williams Obituary

What does all of this have to do with the above headstone you say? It says, H.J. Williams, and I keep referring to him as FHW.

Well, everything! Don’t you know?

Every bit of information I get about FHW just fuels more mystery and confusion.

You see, it is a known family FACT (ok, you know the truth about family facts right?) that FHW at some point changed his name, and I have several letters where his daughter, my great-grandmother Dona Williams Higginbotham tried desperately to find his family and real name, but to no avail.

And every time I mentioned to my brother Butch that I couldn’t find FHW’s headstone, he would say, well I know right where it is. Grandma Higginbotham took me there and showed it to me. We tried several times to get together and go to Texarkana and find it, but our schedules never matched up and we just didn’t make it.

Then a few days before Christmas last, Butch gave me the best Christmas present EVER.

He happened to be in Texarkana and sent me this photo of FHW’s headstone, and several other photos of FHW or HJW’s headstone. (I just have to brag here, he sent me photos of other relatives in the cemetery that I didn’t know about!!  Thanks Butch, I love you!!!!) The death date matched up, and I can find no records on a HJW dying on that day in Texarkana.

Butch, walked right into the cemetery, Woodlawn Cemetery in Texarkana, right where he remembered it was, and there it was, the headstone you see above.

Now, is H.J. simply a mistake on the headstone? I think so.

Is it possible Dona found out his real name?  Maybe.

But with FHW, you never know!

He is after all, the most mysterious man on earth.

Ok, technically I realize, he isn’t on earth anymore. But, his spirit lives on in me and I shall conquer this mystery.

Oh, Oh, Oh,  I got it!  He’s the most mysterious brick wall on earth!

Ok, I’ve lost it now, so peace out.

Sunday’s Obit – Charles A Hooks, M.D.

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Charles A Hooks obit

I’m double related to Charles A. Hooks, III.  He’s my 1st cousin 2x removed.  His grandfather, Charles A. Hooks was the sibling of my 3rd great-grandmother, Jane Nancy Hooks Smith on my mother’s side of the family.  On my father’s side of the family, my great-grand aunt Minnie Williams Hooks is his mother.

I would really like to find a descendant of Charles’.  I find it very odd that I was able to buy his diary off of eBay and it really makes me wonder what has happened to all of his belongings. There have been several of his medical degrees offered up on eBay as well. See this post, Family Heirlooms on eBay for more information.

Tombstone Tuesday – Bathsheba A Ball

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Last April on our way back from Dallas, cousins Nedra Harris Turney and Karen Ball Cowan and I decided on a whim to see if we could find the old Ball Cemetery a cousin had mentioned to me when we passed through New Boston, Texas.

We got extremely lucky because they had just cleaned the Ball cemetery up the prior weekend and uncovered only two headstones. One headstone was that of Bathsheba A Ball.

Bathsheba A Ball Headstone


to the memory of

Mrs. Bathsheba A. Ball

consort of

Isaac M. Ball

who departed this life

the 24th day of June, 1851

aged 21 years 6 months

and 26 days

Earth lost her, Heaven found her.

And you know what’s really cool about this being the one of the two headstones in the Ball Cemetery that they found? The fact that I had just heard this woman’s name two days prior when Karen shared a note written with me by my 2nd great-grandmother, Venetia Smith Ball. Here is part of the note.

Venetia's Notes Side 2

I highlighted the area where she talks about Bathsheba. She basically states that she was the first wife of her husband’s cousin, Isaac Mitchell Ball. She also states that her name is Bathsheba Hooks and that she is her cousin.

Here is another view of Bathsheba’s headstone.  The scratch marks are from the tractor that dug it up.  It was broken as they removed it from the ground.

Bathsheba A Ball Headstone

And here is a view of the cemetery after all the weeds and brush were cut back and the two headstones uncovered.  You can still see the shovel stuck in the ground and standing up to the left of the other headstone.  I wonder if there are other graves there?

Ball Cemetery - Old Boston, Texas

Is that luck or what? I hope there is a descendant out there looking for information on Bathsheba and can find it here because I’m telling you, it was a small miracle to get the note, and find the grave all on the same trip. A grave that had been covered up for a long time.

My 2nd great-grandmother Venetia Smith Ball was the granddaughter of Warren Hooks, for whom the town of Hooks, Texas was named for. There have been several people that have done extensive work on documenting the lineage of the Hooks family. I did not find Bathsheba’s name in any of these, so I don’t know how she fits into the Hooks family.

I asked cousin Diana Smith Walker if she had heard of Bathsheba, and she had not heard of her either and did not have her listed in any of her information.

But, as Diana told me, “I love a good mystery!”

Maybe we can dig up more on Bathsheba besides just her headstone!

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