Tag Archives: Hooks

52 Ancestors: #1 Ben Martin

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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.

First up in my challenge is Ben Martin.  My 4th great-grandfather.  Many years ago, my grandfather, Earl Higginbotham sold the house he and my grandmother were living in. The house is no longer there but it sat right where the gas station is in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Texarkana, Arkansas.  The house was moved down the road and is now a restaurant.  As they were cleaning out the barn behind the house, cousin Nedra saved a few things, one of which was a letter because her husband Jerry saved stamps at the time.  Lucky me, because when I started doing genealogy she gave me this letter.

Ben Martin Inquiry Letter

The letter, dated 1913 and signed by my great-grandmother, Dona Higginbotham, inquired to the Adjutant General about whether or not Ben Martin served during the War of 1812.

At first, I was wondering who Ben Martin was, but then on the inside of the letter, was a written out a lineage history of her sister, for my great-aunt Minnie Williams Hooks, Dona’s sister.  Here it is:

Ben Martin Descendants

The crazy thing is, Charles Augustus Hooks, Minnie’s husband is a 1st cousin 4x removed on my mother’s side of the family.

So I decided to see what I could locate on Ben Martin in War of 1812 records.  Nada on Fold3.com but I haven’t looked anywhere else.

Then I decided to look and see if I could come up with anything on Minnie.  Maybe she had found Ben’s record and was a member of the DAR or some other organization.  Since I was already in Texarkana when Nedra gave me the letter I decided to look for Minnie and Charles’ grave.  I found them at Hillcrest Cemetery, and what do I find on Minnie’s headstone?

Minnie W Hooks Headstone

A Daughter of the American Revolution symbol.  This is good news because maybe she has submitted lineage and proof!

So I headed over to the DAR database, promptly found her application, paid for it and downloaded it.

Ben Martin was her Revolutionary Soldier, and was apparently not in the War of 1812!

This is what I found out from her application.

Minnie Hooks DAR Info

So, Ben Martin, married 2nd Melissa Highnot.  I’ve tried at the time to locate some information on either of these two people and came up empty.

Then in August last year I went to DC and went to the DAR headquarters and was able to look in the file for Ben Martin so I could see all the paperwork that Minnie submitted with her application, and guess what?  There was not a single piece of proof submitted with her application.  I guess since she was a charter member of the Texarkana chapter, at a time when the application was good enough and no proof was needed so she didn’t submit any documentation.  She did write on the application that she had heard stories of his battles throughout her life.  What I wouldn’t give to hear one of those stories.

I’ll keep digging up information on them.  Maybe one day I will get to go to North Carolina and see what I can find in Hyde county, or maybe I’ll take a trip to Butler County, Alabama and find something on them.

Here’s my relationship to Ben Martin and Melissa Highnot, and I all I have for proof is the paper written up above by Dona and Minnie.  In fact up past Rev. Williams and Mildred Martin Wiliams, all my evidence is what you’d call shady!  :)

Ben Martin to Me

If you have any Martin’s or Highnot’s in your ancestry, I would love to hear from you!

I think I’m going to like this challenge!

Day Four of My DC Trip

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This was a day I have dreamed of for a long time.

OK, just for about four long years, but Hey!  That’s a long time.

On this day, August 5th, the fourth day of my trip, I went to the Daughter’s of the American Revolution headquarters.

DC -DAR

I became a member this past year.  It took me four years to prove my line of descendancy from my 5th great-grandfather, Thomas Bullard down to me.  Since the first moment I found out that I had an Ancestor that was part of the American Revolution, I have wanted to find out more about him and his role during the American Revolution and I wanted to actively participate in keeping his memory alive for the sacrifice he made in order to secure our freedom, so I decided to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Little did I know then, I had four other ancestors that also played parts during the American Revolution, but I didn’t find them until just this year when I started working on my mother’s side of the family.

If you don’t know this, when you apply to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, you have to prove who your parents are, who their parents are, and so on and so on, all the way up to the Ancestor that participated in some way in the American Revolution.  To do this, you have to submit birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, etc., anything that proves your tie to your Ancestor.  This is NOT easy when you get back to the years before states started keeping public records.

What a trip to the DAR headquarters means for either a non-member, or a member of the DAR is that you can search for your Ancestor and if you find them, you can look in their file.  Anyone, who has become a member under your Ancestor, has submitted all the documentation listed above, and then some, to prove their relationship to the Ancestor, and if it’s in the file you can make a copy of it!

So, what did I do? I made as many copies as I could, but you’ll learn about that in a minute.

First, Leslie dropped me off on her way to work, and since I was a little early, they had not opened  yet.

DAR Headquarters

I decided I would walk around a bit and see what all was outside the building.

Here, in the photo below this, I am trying to get a selfie with the building behind me, but it is so huge, just like my head, that I couldn’t get the whole building in the picture.  Probably, I should have gotten more building and less head, but then it wouldn’t be a selfie right?  And don’t even ask what’s up with that hairdo of mine, cause I thought it looked great when I left Leslie’s but this selfie proves I was sadly mistaken!  I’m pretty sure I walked around all day like this too!  I guess that’s what I get for not getting up early enough to do more to my hair.  You will actually see that throughout the whole rest of the trip.  It seems I could never get going enough in the mornings to do much with this mop I call hair.

Me at DAR

Righto!

Next, I walked around to where Memorial Continental Hall was.  I never actually went into Memorial Continental Hall, because Hey! I was here to look up Ancestors and I just wanted to spend as much time on that as possible.

DAR Headquarters

Then on around the building there was this lovely statue.

DAR Statue

Then I looked at my watch, 8:30 am!  Whooo Hoooooo!  Who cares what’s on the other side of the building!

So, I got a move on to the inside of the building.

On my to the research entrance, this was on the ground, so I did pause briefly to get this. Briefly though, I was on a mission!

DAR

Next, I secured my pass for the day.  The dot means I’m a member, and the red means I visited on a Monday.

Visitor DAR

I headed straight to the room where you can get on the computer and look at your ancestor files.  When you find a page you want a copy of, you hit the print button, and 25 cents later, that copy is in your hand!  I was able to find bible records, the burial locations of some of my ancestors, read obituaries and see some pictures of relatives, all these things that I would have probably never been able to find anywhere else because some of these were personal records submitted by a cousin, that are not public records.

Boosh!!

So, on my first day, this is how much I was able to print off from my Ancestor files.  I got information from the files of John Smith, John Roberts, Abraham Neighbours, William Hooks, and Thomas Bullard.

DAR Papers

Boosh Boosh!!!  Whoop Whoop!!

Oh, did I mention save your money??

Yeah, that’s 25 cents a copy there folks.

Do I regret it?  NO WAY!

Would I spend that much on copies again?  OH YEAH!  ABSOLUTELY!

I printed every single thing I could.  But guess what?  I wasn’t even done!  I had to stop because I wanted time to go in the library.  Plus, I was hungry.  I thought I heard a dinner bell, but my imagination was running wild, it was actually the phone of the girl sitting at the computer next to me.  When I realized it wasn’t, my stomach didn’t care it was growling and I realized it was already after noon!  I texted Leslie, and she brought BBQ (she only works a couple of blocks from the DAR), and we sat in the break area they have and had lunch together.

Then I went into the Library after Leslie went back to work, and Oh my!  I wish I had taken a picture, but I’m pretty sure since they have a strict, and I mean strict, rule about cell phones in the library, I shouldn’t push my luck.  It was amazing though.  Two stories, and I mean an upper and lower level in the library, of information just waiting to be looked at!

I found several things in the library in books that actually cleared up a few things in my genealogy!  Yay!!  First, I found a book called Dennard Heritage by Norris Dennard.  There was quite a bit of information in there about my 3rd great-grandfather John F. Ball and his wife Hellen Dennard Ball.  I also discovered that Hellen’s father Kenady Dennard was in the war of 1812, and his father Jacob Dennard served in the American Revolution.

Wait, what?

Another Patriot!

And guess what, I forgot to look in Jacob Dennard’s file while I was there!  Can you believe that??  I’m still kicking myself in the rear right now.  It’s totally bruised.

Anyway, I copied a few pages of that book, and then I looked through some books about Texas.  Then I looked in some Methodist Books hoping to find something on my 3rd great-grandfather, Rev. John J. Triggs but I just didn’t have enough time.

I soon realized it was almost 4 p.m. and I knew this was when they closed, so I wrapped it up and headed over to their museum to mosey on through it for a minute.  They had an exhibit on the timeline of women’s clothing and had many, many beautiful dresses on display.

Sometimes, I wish ladies still dressed like this.  Then I think about feeding my chickens in a dress and not NO, but you know what NO!

Clothes DAR

I found the Red Cross uniforms to be really interesting.

Red Cross Uniforms at DAR

Did you know the founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton was a Daughter of the American Revolution?

Did you know the Red Cross is located right next to the DAR?  They have a beautiful campus!

Another interesting piece I saw in the museum was this Life Mask of Gen. George Washington, the first President of The United States.  This was made by Signor Auguste Lenci of Philadelphia and he made it from a mold that was taken by French Sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon at Mt. Vernon in 1785.   Emmanuel Leutze used it as a model for his historical paintings of Gen. Washington.  He’s the one that painted Gen. Washington crossing the Delaware.  Did you know that?

Life Mask of George Washington DAR

Amazing, right?

It’s almost like looking right at him.  How in the world did he sit still for that?

Then, I got kicked out.

Well, not really, but they politely informed me it was closing time so I went outside and hung out for a while until Leslie got off work and picked me up.  We went back to her apartment and she cooked steaks for dinner and we watched Netflix.

It was a great day, and have I mentioned how much fun I had just hanging out with Leslie? It’s the best!

Treasure Chest Thursday – Notes from the Past

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Since I started this journey in 2007, I have wished and wished that I would have asked my grandmother Mary Ball Parks about her family.

Many times, I have said to myself or whoever is listening to the fool things I say, “Just send me a clue, a sign, anything!”

But, haven’t we all??  It is the biggest regret of almost every family historian and genealogist I know.  Everyone wishes they could ask just one more question. We all know that its impossible to ask anymore questions so I ask for signs or clues.

Well, I got a sign! Well, not a sign, but a note and that’s even better!

Jealous?

Ok, not yet, but you will be.

I went to visit my cousin Karen Ball Cowan and she was kind enough to drag out all of the family memorabilia that her mother and father had saved and let me bring it home to scan. Well among all the stuff, was todays Treasure Chest Thursday topic.

Karen had a note that my 2nd great-grandmother, Venetia Smith Ball had written.  Full of her family history! She mentions the Balls, the Hooks, the Roberts and talks about her husband. So many people she mentions!

Woot! Woot!

So, check this out and be jealous!

Venetia Smith Ball's Notes Side 1

Venetia Smith Ball’s Notes Side 1. Digital Image 2013, by Susie Reynolds. Original held by Karen Ball Cowan of Texarkana, Texas.

Venetia Smith Ball's Notes Side 2

Venetia Smith Ball’s notes Side 2. Digital Image, 2013 by Susie Reynolds. Original Image held by Karen Ball Cowan of Texarkana, Texas.

I kid, I kid (as Knucklehead would say), don’t be jealous.  Just search out your cousins and see what they have.  If they aren’t interested in genealogy, they may not even know what they have and you might just find a treasure like I did!

Who wouldn’t like to get a note from the past?  Now I got clues for more digging!

Happy treasure hunting!

Susie

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams – Part II

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I’m back with Part II of my discovery of the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams.  If you missed Part I, that’s ok.  You can find it here.

At this point in my research, what I know about Rev. Williams is that he was born in St. Louis in 1843, and that he is indeed the father of my Dona Williams Higginbotham.

What I don’t know is his date of death, Mildred’s (his wife) date of death or where they are buried.

I knew from information gathered that Dona and her husband Rufus were buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.  After a little research I discovered that Minnie and her husband Charles Hooks were buried in Hillcrest Cemetery  and so I headed out to get pictures of both of their headstones, and I was hoping that around one of their graves, I would come across Rev. Williams and Mildred’s headstone.

Rufus F. and Dona A. Higginbotham Headstone

Here is Dona and Rufus’ headstone, which looks to be in a plot of about six graves, but theirs is the only headstone in the plot and I didn’t find Rev. Williams’ or Mildred’s headstone anywhere else in Woodlawn.  If it was once there, it is gone now.

So I headed over to Hillcrest and I found Minnie’s headstone beside her husbands, Charles A. Hooks.

Minnie W Hooks Headstone  Charles A Hooks Headstone

The office had no record of Rev. Williams or his wife Sarah Mildred Martin Williams as being buried in this cemetery and of course, there was no other headstone around Minnie and Charles’.

But wait, what is that on Minnie’s headstone?

A Daughters of the American Revolution symbol!

Booyah!!

When I got home I got on the computer straight away.  started looking up DAR applications for Minnie, and Booyah!!  Found it! Paid for it, downloaded it, and prayed the whole time it was loading up on my computer for death dates for Rev. Williams and Sarah Mildred Martin Williams.

In her application which was dated the 9th of January, 1914, this is how her parents were listed:
Minnie Williams Hooks DAR app parents FHW SMMW

She states:  “I am the daughter of Francis H. Williams born 1843, died ____ and his 2nd wife Sarah M. Martin born 1856, died ______ married 1877.”

Wait.

What?

His 2nd wife??

Who’s the first?

And where are the death dates dad burn it?!?!?!

At this point I can only surmise that when Minnie filled out the application in 1914 they were both still alive.   I couldn’t find Rev. Williams on the 1920 census, but I did find his wife Mildred, widowed and living with the Yarbrough family as a roomer.

1920 Census Mildred Wiliams

I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one.  I know that there are some Yarbrough’s in the family on the Higginbotham side so I can see that this could happen.  I’m just not sure why she wasn’t living with either Dona or Minnie.  They were all alive at this time.  I’ll probably never know the answer to this one.

During this time, I made a visit to my Aunt Jane who was in declining health and we chatted and visited and I showed her what all I had discovered and she was very interested but her memory was failing her and she couldn’t help much with information.  She did tell me she had some boxes with some stuff in them that I could have, and so Uncle Charlie (Starks) dug them out and gave them to me and I hit the mother lode!

What I thought at first to be a lot of Higginbotham photos and such, ended up being a lot of stuff from the Williams.    It was in this stuff that I discovered that Rev. Williams, was a minister, that he had probably been in the war between the states and that he had been in the Austin Confederate Home following the war between the states.

See this box?

Williams box of lettersIt was full of letters to the Williams family.   There were quite a few letters in here from Charles to Minnie when he was away at school and working in a pharmacy.  There were letters from some of Mildred’s Dial cousins in Louisiana.

Here are some pictures of the Williams’ that I found in the boxes as well:

Dona, Mildred, and Minnie Williams

Dona is on the left, Mildred in the middle and Minnie on the right.

FH and Mildred WilliamsRev. Williams, I believe this is either Earl or Milton Higginbotham in the middle but not sure which one, and Mildred Williams on the right.

Earl Higginbotham 1901

This is my grandfather Earl Higginbotham in 1901, this photo was in the box and what I love so much about this picture is that Rev. Williams wrote on the back of the photo: “Twinkle to his old Granddad”.  I found that to be so sweet and it really just touched me.

FH WilliamsRev. Williams again.  I wish I could tell more about this picture and where he was.  It’s really blurry though.

F H WilliamsEarl had written on the back of this photo, Grandfather Williams.  It was so faded that you can barely make out his facial features.  I wish I could see his eyes.

Mildred Martin Williams

Mildred Martin Williams.  What a very regal picture.  I have such beautiful ancestors!!

Minnie Williams Hooks

Minnie Williams Hooks.  What a beautiful picture.

Dona HigginbothamDona Higginbotham.  This picture did not come from this box, Gary Higginbotham gave me this picture, but I didn’t want to leave her out because there wasn’t one of her in the box.  I love this picture though.

Booyah!!  What a great discovery of pictures and letters!  How lucky am I that Aunt Jane remembered them, and that Uncle Charlie got them out and gave them to me.  I will be forever grateful, from the bottom of my heart and I can’t say it enough.

So, at this point of my journey, I still had no death for Rev. Williams, but I have it down to being between 1914, the date of Minnie’s DAR application and 1920 when Mildred appears on the census as a widow.  A very thorough search of all Texarkana cemeteries has left me dry as well.

I’m already working on Part III of this series and I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of this story because I still have the good parts to get to.

Booyah!

Ok, sorry.  I just always have to do it one more time.

Don’t forget to come back on the 16th specifically, I have good things in store for you my special friends and family!

Susie

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams – Part I

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For some time now, like two years to be exact, I have been working on one dead-end after another with my 2nd great-grandfather, the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams.

I’m going to take you on a little journey of discovery as to how I found out about him, and his story as it unfolded to me.  Well, sort of.  He’s still a mystery to some extent.

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams

This is him.  I would not even know who he was if cousin Nedra Harris Turney hadn’t saved a letter that my grandfather, Earl Higginbotham was going to burn because she wanted the stamp.  This was the contents of that letter.

Ben MartinI know you are wondering what that letter had to do with him right?  I mean she is asking about Ben Martin in it, not Francis Hereford Williams.  Now, that is a find in itself, but that’s a different story for another time.  It was the piece of paper that was enclosed with this letter that was really the most important.  I would like to point out first though, that I find it really comforting that my great-grandmother, Dona Higginbotham was trying to find out about her ancestors with this letter.  FROM 1913!!  How lucky am I that Nedra saved this letter??  Because this little jewel that was inside was a great find.  I’d like to hug Dona’s neck for this one! Oh, and Nedra’s too.

Ben Martin Descendants

There he is, Francis Hereford Williams listed as the father of Dona’s sister, Minnie Elizabeth Williams Hooks!  Ancestors listed all the way back to 1787!

Booyah!!!

Of course, I haven’t proved all that, but thank you Dona for saving it with the letter.   Thank you Bepaw (Earl) for not burning it and giving it to Nedra, and thank you Nedra for saving stamps and getting the letter from Bepaw (Earl), and thank you ….. just kidding.  I could go on and on but that is all.  Amen.

Now, I know you want to ask me how that list proves Minnie is Dona’s sister, and that Francis Hereford Williams is actually Dona’s father.  Well, it doesn’t.   Right.  I know.  Just when you think you have a lead, you still can’t prove the relation.

The problem was on the 1880 census, Francis and Mildred were listed along with Minnie.  Dona wasn’t born yet.  She would have been listed on the 1890 census, but we don’t have a 1890 census and by the time the 1900 census rolled around, Dona was already married to Rufus Higginbotham.

All was not lost though.  After months and months of trying to prove this relation and coming up dry, my Dad’s first cousin, Gary Higginbotham came through for me.  He found his father Milton Higginbotham’s baby book.  Milton was my grandfather Earl’s brother.

Milton Higginbotham's Baby Book
Milton Higginbotham's Baby Book

Booyah, Baby!!  I do have a census report for Rufus, Dona, Earl and Milton all living together as a big happy family, so I finally tied them all together.

On my next post I will give you a run down of how I then started putting pieces together of Frances Hereford Williams in the war between the states, and as a minister.  Then, I’ll move on to the really juicy stuff.  Family scandals and such.  Yeah, I know a minister involved in a family scandal?  Not really, but I do believe he changed his name to Francis Hereford Williams, from possibly Watkins.

Why do I think so you ask?  Well, you will just have to stick around and find out.

Booyah!

I just wanted to say that one more time.

Oh, and be sure you do keep coming back, I have my one year blogging anniversary coming up on the 16th and I’m going to have a big surprise for you!

Booyah!

Ok, I’ll stop now.

Really.

Susie

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