Tag Archives: Smith

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!

Christmas Past to Christmas Present

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As I was decorating the house the other day for the Christmas holidays, for some reason I started thinking about what my ancestors would have been doing at Christmas time during the civil war.

Christmas Decorations 2013

I’m sure they didn’t string fancy garlands or lights and probably not every one put up a Christmas tree as the European custom of having a tree was just becoming popular.  If they did decorate a tree, I’m sure the decorations would have been handmade usually of stringed sugared fruits, ribbons, popcorn, pine cones, colored paper, silver foil and spun glass ornaments.

As I looked around guiltily at all of my decorations, I wondered did they decorate their houses? Did they sit with their families around a fire and sing songs?  Did they trade gifts and visit neighbors?

Not having any way to know what my ancestors did, I started thinking about my husband’s ancestors.  Then I remembered that we had a copy of my (now ex) husband’s great-grandfather, A.J. Smith’s diary that he wrote during the civil war.  My (now ex) father-in-law, Al Reynolds has the original diary in his possession.

This is A.J. at about the time he enlisted as a Pvt. in Co. K, 20th Regiment Arkansas Infantry, CSA on March 6, 1862 in Lafayette Co., Arkansas.

AJ Smith

So, I pulled the diary up and looked for dates around Christmas time and this is what he wrote (the year is 1863 from farther up in the diary):

“Dec 24th Ark troops and some others to the amount of 500 are parolled for exchange and put on the steamer New York and go to the Fortress Monroe and ly over till the evening of the 25th. On the night of the 25th ly in the mouth of James River.  On the morning of the 26th sail to City Point and wait for the Confederate Boat from Richmond till the morning of the 28th.”

We know from his diary and muster rolls that he was taken prisoner at Big Black on May 16, 1863 and imprisoned at Fort Delaware and then later at Point Lookout, where the parole he mentioned above took place.

I went back into the living room at this point and sat and looked at my tree.  A.J. was not sitting in a warm house around a tree with his family during the Christmas of 1863. However, I imagine being paroled from prison after seven months, was a pretty good Christmas gift.  I imagine he was sitting on that steamer on Christmas eve, glad to be on his way to freedom and thinking very much of his family at home, but was he even thinking about it being Christmas as he didn’t mention that in the diary?

I found a picture of the New York steamer, which you can view here.  I can’t imagine being stuffed in there with 499 other parolees.  I wonder what he was fed?  I’m sure it wasn’t anything like the meal we will eat on Christmas eve.  In fact, he was probably lucky if he got anything at all.

In doing a bit of research, I came across this entry, written in a diary on Christmas day 1863, by Sergeant John L. Hoster of Co. A., 148th NY, who was serving an extended period of non-combat duty in the Fort Norfolk, Virginia area.  He wrote:

“Cool but pleasant. Corpl. Spaid, Dick Bachman, the orderly and I had a splendid Christmas dinner today, consisting of roast goose, mashed potatoes, good gravy, bread and butter. The goose was bought in market yesterday by F. Spaid for $1.25, stuffed with crackers and oysters and roasted by Mrs. Duncan. We had it served up on a fine large platter, borrowed, bought or stolen for the occasion. Had a fine supper on the remains. Flag of truce ship, New York, came here today and took away a few prisoners to City Point. A schooner also came today with several new pontoons which were unloaded at the dock.”

Wait, what?

This dude is chomping down on a goose, from a platter probably stolen from some southern lady, while poor A.J. was getting taken away to City Point. Sgt. Hoster’s good fortune didn’t last long as it was only a matter of time before his own goose was cooked and the next Christmas he was sitting in a Confederate prison eating sweet potato soup and meal dumplings.

I am happy to report though that Sgt. Hoster did eventually return home to his family, as did A.J.

I don’t know what any of my ancestors were up to during the civil war at Christmas time. Of the eight great-grandfathers that I had during that time period, four of them fought during the war between the states.  One was shot in his head and survived, but suffered greatly for the rest of his life.

So, this Christmas I will remember what my ancestors, and my husband’s ancestors sacrificed so that we could end up here together, living a life of luxury compared to what A.J. was going through during 1863.  I’m thankful, and I don’t take it for granted and I know my husband doesn’t either.

My son, Pvt. Cole is currently at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma completing his AIT training.  We get the privilege of Skyping. If you don’t know what that is, it’s where you both log on to Skype either on a phone or computer and we can chat while a webcam sends video, to the person on the other end. This is what my screen looks like when we are talking.

Skyping with Justin

I can only imagine that A.J.’s mother would have wished for a letter or some word that A.J. was still alive and was being released and would be on his way home soon.  He had already been sent home once deathly ill to recover at his parents house, only to then be later captured.

His father, Robert Burnett Smith was off fighting in an Alabama regiment and so I imagine his mother, Sarah Yates Smith lived in constant fear for her husband and son. She also had, two other sons fighting; John Calvin Smith and Joel Benjamin Smith.  She wasn’t lucky like I am to be able to sit here at my computer and see a smiling face from hundreds of miles away, with just a few clicks on a phone.

Have you thought about what your ancestors were doing during Christmas way back when, and how drastically different it is from what we do now at Christmas time?

I’m thinking maybe we should cook a goose in honor of A.J. this Christmas and share that story with the kids! :)

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.


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


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!


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.


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!

Funeral Card Friday – K.W. Ball

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Funeral Card for KW Ball

My niece Leslie Golden recently went to the DAR headquarters and was able to secure quite a few documents for me.  This funeral card was one of them.  It is for my 2nd Great Grandfather, Kenaday Wade Ball who died 25 Sep 1900.  It was in the patriot file of John Smith, Ancestor # A105953.

Thanks Leslie!

Charles Arthur Smith 1980 – 2013

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Today, my 2nd cousin Hayley James Smith will lay her husband to rest.  Less than a year ago we nearly lost Hayley while giving birth to her sweet baby boy Jackson Layne Smith.  She’s a fighter though and truly a miracle.  I know God has awesome plans for her, but please pray for her and the children as they navigate through these very hard times.

Friends are setting up a meal train, and donations would be appreciated for the children to the scholarship fund at Red River Federal Employees Credit Union acct #739517

Charles Arthur Smith

Charles Arthur Smith, age 32, of Texarkana, Texas, died Monday, May 27, 2013, from injuries received in an auto accident.

Charles was born June 15, 1980, in Texarkana, Texas. He was a graduate of Texas High School and was an employee of Direct TV.

Survivors include his wife, Hayley James Smith of Texarkana, Texas, one step-daughter, Carson Brooke Law of Texarkana, Texas, two sons, Charles Austin Smith and Jackson Layne Smith of Texarkana, Texas, his mother and step-father, Wanda and James Lee of Texarkana, Texas, three sisters, Tonya Smith Berton of Texarkana, Arkansas, Ashley Smith and Lori Irving of California, and four brothers, Sam Smith of Texarkana, Arkansas, Dewayne Smith and Edward Smith of Texarkana, Texas, and Johnny Lovette of Dallas, Texas.

Memorial services will be at 4:00 P. M. Friday at the Chapelwood Funeral Home with Rev. Josh Lee and Rev. Hal Haltom officiating.

Memorials may be made to: Scholarship Fund for his children, Red River Federal Employees Credit Union.

Smith Family

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