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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

How much is your finger worth?

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To my grandfather Earl Higginbotham, his finger was worth $307.04 back in 1919, when he was about 19 years old.

I came across these two letters from the U.S. Railroad Administration in the last batch of letters my Uncle Charlie gave me.

Then I found this reply from Earl’s father, Rufus F. Higginbotham Jr. to Mr. Jim McPhetridge of the US. Railroad Administration settling for the amount of $307.04.

I never knew my grandfather worked for the Railroad. I had found several pictures and postcards of his from when he was in Kansas City, but I had no idea what he was doing there.

After I found these letters I asked my Dad if he knew that his father Earl had worked for the Railroad, and if knew about any injury, and he replied, “Oh yes! I sure did. Daddy worked for the Railroad and one evening they stopped the boxcars in Mena. Daddy grabbed the side of the boxcar and jumped down, his ring caught on something on the boxcar, and his ring ripped his finger off. He could not get any help until they got back in Texarkana, and he lost his finger.”

I had never noticed in any of the pictures of my grandfather that his finger was missing, so I went back through them all, and I found only two photos in which you can tell his finger is missing.

Just looking at this one without knowing the story, I would have thought it was just tucked under.

This is my grandfather with my father’s first cousin, Lou Ann Brock Brown, you can see his finger is missing in this one really well.

I love finding these letters, I love the fact that the first letter up above, even mentions Earl’s grandfather, Justice Higginbotham, and about all the places that he tried to find my grandfather at.

Thank you, Uncle Charlie! These letters are a true treasure!

Susie

Research Trip

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Boy, do I have a lot to tell you!

Week before last I went on a research trip.

First, I went to Fordyce, Arkansas and spent a whole day in the court-house taking photos of documents pertaining to Sanford Higginbotham and his estate.   Sanford is my 3rd great-grandfather.  I’ll be doing separate posts about that, as his estate was in four “will” books, five “probate” books, and one “deed” book.  It’s going to take me a bit to process all the pictures and get them ready for your viewing, you won’t be disappointed though.

This is the Fordyce Courthouse that held all of the glorious documentation about Sanford Higginbotham and his family.

Courthouse Sign - Fordyce Arkansas

Dallas County Courthouse, Fordyce Arkansas - Front of Building

Dallas County Courthouse - Fordyce, Arkansas - side of building

I also went to the Fordyce library, and browsed their genealogy section, but found nothing on Sanford Higginbotham.

Then I went to the Dallas County Museum and visited there with Sagan Childs.  She has tried to help me before with other ancestors on my mother’s side of the family, and she is always helpful.  They had nothing on Sanford Higginbotham there either, but it was nice to visit with her anyway, and check out any new items in the museum.

Dallas County Museum - downtown Fordyce, Arkansas

Then, I left and went to Texarkana.  I went to Nedra’s house.

Nedra, always the gracious host!  I can’t tell you what a blessing she has been in my life.  So much of what I have found out about our family, has been through her efforts.

I wouldn’t trade Nedra for love nor money.

What??  I think I just channeled my grandmother Poo, she used to say that all time.  It’s true though, I wouldn’t trade Nedra for anything!!

We (I mean Nedra) went and fixed the pretty flowers that my Uncle Charlie put on Aunt Jane’s grave.

I just watched and snapped photos with my iPhone.

This was before:

Aunt Jane's headstone

Nedra fixing flowers

And guess what? I forgot the after picture! Oh, well! Nedra just shaved off half of the styrofoam and then the flowers fit down in there flush with the top of the vase. They looked good, the flowers Uncle Charlie put out there, were very pretty.

Then I checked out Mom and Dad’s headstone.

Yes, Mom and Dad’s.

Don’t panic, they are still here on Earth. I do have to tell you though, seeing their headstone down on the ground definitely set me back a bit. It’s so final, and yet inevitable. We will all be there one day. My problem is I want to keep them here forever and I know that’s not going to happen. But anyway, here is their headstone, and it looks really good. Mom picked it out, and she did a good job.  I’m glad it has their marriage date on it, that is great for future descendants to find!

Mom and Dad's Headstone

I spent a day at the library and found a few random things on a variety of ancestors, some on my mother’s side and some on my fathers. I’ll share more of this in additional posts. Also, Nedra gave me several things on her brother Erby, and I’ll be doing a post about that.

Then,  one of the highlights of the whole trip was, on a whim, I called the Highland Park Baptist Church of Texarkana, and inquired about my 2nd great-grandfather, the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams, as being the founding pastor.  HE WAS!!  The current pastor Kevin Meyers had all kinds of information and asked me to come by the church.  So Gary, Bessie and I went, and well, you will have to wait for a post about it!  It’s too good to summarize here!! But as a teaser, here is a picture of Gary, Bessie and I in the sanctuary.  We got quite the tour!

Gary, Bessie and Me, in the Highland Park Baptist Church sanctuary

Then, another highlight was, my precious Uncle Charlie graciously gave me all of the following:  my Grandmother’s clock, a clock that belonged to my Aunt Jane, another photo album, and a binder with letters in it spanning from 1890 to 1927, and an old photo of my 2nd great-grandfather, Major Harris, his brother Uncle Doc, and his sister, Aunt Birdie, all when they were children.

Clock that belonged to my grandparents, Earl and Edna Higginbotham. Thank you Uncle Charlie!

Aunt Jane's clock - Uncle Charlie thinks Maudie Cowan gave it to her.

Photo Album from Uncle Charlie

Binder of Letters from Uncle Charlie

And that precious binder will also get a post of its own because of the countless treasures that were in it.

Uncle Doc Harris, Major Harris, and Aunt Birdie Harris Williams

Then, I headed to Shreveport, and spent time with Kookie and Cheri.  We were going to research, but instead, we settled for visiting, reading the binder of letters and trying to decipher a very interesting find, which you’ll find out about later, and then I got to meet Kookie’s daughter, Kelly and her family and I just loved them all!  Kookie is blessed with a great family.

Here is a picture of Kookie and me, I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture with Cheri or any of Kookie’s family, maybe because I didn’t feel good, but I’m very disappointed that I didn’t.  I think I just got caught up enjoying the moment, and forgot to document it.  Sometimes, you just want to have fun, know what I mean?

Kookie and Me

And why haven’t I taken a picture of me and Nedra like this before??   I’m adding that to my to-do list.  Or should I say bucket list cause sometimes I think I might die before I get all of this dang to-do list done.

Anyway, this trip was a great break from the responsibilities of home, and I so needed the time I spent with my cousins.  I love them all, and had a great time with them.  I only wish I was closer and could spend more time with them.

~SHR~

 

 

Happy Birthday Daddy!

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Today is my Dad’s 78th Birthday.  I thought I would share some pictures with you of him throughout his life.

Funny story about this picture.  Dad told me on several different occasions that Aunt Jane was always tugging on his ear, and he couldn’t stand it.  When Aunt Jane let me borrow some photo albums to scan, I found this gem.  There she is, tugging on his ear.  Dad was mortified more about the dress though. HA!

Dad and Aunt Jane

 

Dad and Aunt Jane

 

Dad and Aunt Jane

 

Dad and Aunt Jane

 

Dad

 

Dad

 

Memaw (Edna), Bepaw (Earl), Dad and Aunt Jane

 

Earl, Edna, Jane, and Rufus

 

Dad

 

Dad standing second from left. This article I found clipped inside Big Momma's (his grandmother Mollie Harris) Bible.

 

Rufus

 

Rufus

 

Rufus

 

Rufus April 1955

 

Rufus

 

Rufus Higginbotham, Cardinals in the Minors

You can find his stats on baseball.com, but he says they aren’t right, they don’t have all his games listed.

Rufus and Marge

 

Aunt Jane, Memaw, and Dad

 

Dad and Bepaw

 

Rufus and Marge

 

Marge and Rufus on their Wedding Day

 

Memaw and Dad

 

Dad and my Mom

 

Dad and my Mom

 

Dad and my Mom on their Wedding Day

 

Dad and Memaw

 

Dad and Aunt Jane, the last time they saw each other.

 

Dad

Happy Birthday Dad!  We love you and wish you many more!

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I’m baaaccccckkk!!!

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And so are the genealogy pages!  Click the link above that says ”Genealogy” and you will be taken to my new family genealogy pages.  It’s still got a lot of work that needs to be done, but you can at least access the pages and search for your ancestor.

I apologize for being away, and taking so long in getting the family pages back up.  My father was sick and spent a couple of days in the hospital, and then I got sick, and then my precious Aunt Jane went home to the Lord.  While Aunt Jane will be missed, I rejoice that she is in heaven with our Father, and her body is whole and no longer in pain.  Here she is with my grandparents, and I imagine their reunion was sweet!

Lou Jane Higginbotham Starks, Earl and Edna Higginbotham

I’ll be getting back to regular posts now that things have settled down. Yes, I’m knocking on wood.  It seems that every time I say that, things spiral out of control, but I have faith everything is going to go ok for a while, cause God knows I need a break, and I have a lot to share with you, so stay tuned……

~Susie~

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