Tag Archives: Williams

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.

52 Ancestors – #4 Rufus Francis Higginbotham, Sr.

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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.

Please meet my 2nd great-grandfather, Rufus Francis Higginbotham, Sr. Week four, and my fourth post in the challenge.

This is a photo of Rufus with his wife, Margaret Florence Jacobs Higginbotham.

Rufus and Margaret Higginbotham

Rufus, or Civil War Rufus as I call him, was born 14th of March, 1839 in Alabama.  (Yes, Justin I hear you yelling “Roll Tide!”  Since he came to Arkansas, I hope you hear me yelling, “Woo Pig Sooie!”  He was the 8th of 12 children born to Sanford Higginbotham and Jane Harriette Holley Higginbotham.

The reason I call him Civil War Rufus is because he is the first of five generations of Rufus Higginbotham’s and he fought in the civil war which makes it easier for me to distinguish which Rufus I am talking about.  The last Rufus being my brother Butch, (nicknamed Butch because he always wore his hair in a flat top with Butch wax on it) whose name is actually Rufus Earl Higginbotham, III. He named his son Ben David Higginbotham because he (Butch) was teased merciless in grade school about his name “Rufus” and he didn’t want Ben to suffer the same fate, so they decided against naming him James Rufus Higginbotham and went with Ben David instead, thus ending the Rufus name in our line of Higginbotham’s.  I’m sure Ben thanks him!

I know there are other grandchildren of Civil War Rufus that carry the name Rufus.  In our line, it happens to be my nephew, Jonathan Rufus Higginbotham, and his son Skylar Mikel Rufus Higginbotham.  I know there are some other Rufus’ in Civil War Rufus’ son Sanford L. Higginbotham’s line that carry the name, for instance Rufus Merit Higginbotham. I hope to learn more about Sanford L.’s line in the future.

I have a copy of the bible of Sanford Higginbotham, Rufus’ father on this website, which you can refer to here, Bible of Sanford and Jane Higginbotham.  This bible is in the possession of Hugh Oliver Higginbotham, Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee.  Hugh, along with his two wonderful sisters, Joy Maclin and Marilee Whitten graciously agreed to let me photograph it and use it for family records.

The bible record is how I know Rufus was the 8th child of 12 children.  It’s also how I know he married Margaret Jacobs on the 4th of June 1865.

Backing up a bit from his marriage, I found Civil War Rufus on the 1850 Census living in Jackson, Dallas Co., Arkansas.  This was the plantation of his father Sanford Higginbotham which you can read about here, Walking Ancestral Land with Cousins. The census shows him living at this time with his father and mother, Sanford and Jane, siblings James, Joseph, William, Nancy, Elizabeth, and Amanda, with farm laborer, A.L. Barnes.

1850 Higginbotham Census

1850 Higginbotham Census, Rufus age 11.

Civil War Rufus’ father Sanford died in 1851 and so on the 1860 census he is found still living with his mother Jane on the family plantation with siblings, William, Nancy, Elizabeth and Amanda.

1860 Census Higginbotham

1860 Census Higginbotham, Rufus age 21.

Then, on March 1st, 1862 in Princeton, Arkansas Rufus joined Co. B, 18th Regiment Arkansas Infantry. You can find out more about this Regiment and the hardships they faced here, 18th (Carroll’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment, CSA.  From Rufus’ muster rolls, I learned quite a bit of information.  I learned when and where he joined.  I learned he was absent sick in hospital, and sick at home.  I learned he was taken prisoner at Port Hudson, Louisiana on 9th of July 1863 and was paroled.   I learned he signed the Oath of Amnesty and Allegiance on 21 April 1864.

Rufus Higginbotham Muster Roll

Rufus Higginbotham Muster Roll

It’s hard to read, but if you look on the above muster roll for Rufus, you will see it says he has grey eyes, black hair, was light complected, 6’2″ tall and was 25 years old. Now I know where brother Butch who is 6’5″, brother Gene who is 6’5″ and sister BJ who is just shy of 5’9″ got their height. Evidently, I got the short end of that stick at 5’4″, ha!

Then in 1865 as mentioned above, he married Margaret Jacobs.  They had five children that I know of.

  • Harriette Alice Higginbotham (1866-1911) who married Merit Joseph Crank (2nd wife) and had no children.
  • Charles S. Higginbotham (1867 – bef 1910) who married Rena Peavy and had a son Luther Higginbotham.
  • Mary Florence Higginbotham (1873-1940), who married James Harvey Davis and had no children.
  • Rufus Francis Higginbotham, Jr. (my great-grandfather) (1876-1923) who married Dona Williams, and had my grandfather Rufus Earl Higginbotham, and Milton Francis Higginbotham.
  • Sanford Lullean Higginbotham (1879-1942) who married Minnie Ola Crank.  (Minnie Crank is the daughter of Merit Crank (husband of Alice) and his first wife Emma Francis Larey).  Sanford and Minnie had five children: Emma Pauline Higginbotham who married Paul Stockton, Sanford Aubrey Higginbotham who married Janis Plemmons, Muriel Higginbotham who married Holbert Manning, Richard L Higginbotham who married Ina Mae Brown, and Rufus Merit Higginbotham who married Alma Virginia Torrans.  There is an extensive book done by Patricia Cleveland called “The Crank Family, Past to Present 1595 to 2009″ that has quite a bit of information and several photos of these Higginbotham’s.


This tin type that my Aunt Jane had is probably the youngest picture I have of Civil War Rufus. He is on the right, and my great-grandfather Rufus Francis Higginbotham, Jr. is on the left.

Rufus F Higginbotham Jr and Rufus F Higginbotham Sr

Rufus F Higginbotham Jr and Rufus F Higginbotham Sr

On the 1870 Census, I find Rufus farming in Precinct 1, Bowie Co., Texas, with his wife Margaret, and children Harriette Alice, and Charles S. Higginbotham.

1870 Census Higginbotham

1870 Census Higginbotham

I did not find him on the 1880 Census, and we all know the 1890 census was destroyed. In the 1900 Census, I find Rufus surprisingly as the Head of a Hotel (boy do I wish it said which hotel as I have not been able to figure this out), in District 0121 in Garland, Miller Co., Arkansas. Margaret also lived there with him, as well as children, Mary Florence, Sanford L., Rufus Jr. and wife Dona, and several other boarders.

1900 Higginbotham Census

1900 Higginbotham Census

If any of you Texarkana or Miller County historians know which hotel that might be, it would be great to know that.

It seems to me that Civil War Rufus wore many hats throughout his lifetime. Not only did he apparently run a hotel, in looking at the city and county directories for Texarkana, and Miller County, I have found him to be Justice of the Peace for Miller County (1905), County Coroner for Miller County (1915), and Oil Inspector for Miller County (1917).

In 1910, Rufus is found living in District 0070, Texarkana Ward 3, Miller Co., Arkansas and is shown to be a Justice of the Peace. His wife Margaret and daughter Mary Florence are also living there at the time.

1910 Census higginbotham

1910 Census Higginbotham

Imagine my surprise in 2011 when the Arkansas Democrat Gazette ran this article from “100 years ago”.

Justice Higginbotham Pours Whiskey on Broad Street

Justice Higginbotham Orders Whiskey Poured on Broad Street

Ha! I know one brother (who shall rename nameless but has not been mentioned yet in this post) that if he had been living back then, would have been trying to lick it off the street and would have gone home crying with a sore tongue. I’m pretty sure Civil War Rufus and this nameless brother of mine would not see eye to eye on that subject.

On the 1920 Census, Rufus is found living with wife Margaret and surprisingly, my great Uncle Milton, in District 0071, Texarkana, Miller Co., Arkansas.

1920 Census Higginbotham

1920 Census Higginbotham

I know that my great-grandfather Rufus F. Jr. died at a young age of 47. It’s possible that in 1920 he was sick and Milton went to live his parents. The weird thing is, Rufus F. Jr., died on 21 September 1923, but Civil War Rufus died just a few months before him on 29 Jun 1923. I can’t even begin to tell you how confusing it was to look these Rufus’ up and separate them with how closely they died together.

But, before we get to the end, so to speak, I have a few more things to share with you. I found this document is some pictures my Aunt Jane gave me. I have not researched it yet, but I have never heard anyone speak of it, and Dad knew nothing about it. It looks like the subdivision is somewhere around Broad St. I’ll have to do some research on this at the Miller Co. Courthouse.

Rufus Higginbotham Subdivision

Rufus Higginbotham Subdivision

This is another picture of Rufus and Margaret.

Rufus and Margaret Higginbotham

Rufus and Margaret Higginbotham

And then these next two, are a couple of my favorite pictures. This is Rufus on a donkey.

Rufus F Higginbotham Sr

Rufus F Higginbotham Sr

This is Rufus doing I don’t know what to the poor Donkey, but it looks like he is trying to get the donkey to not run off with his grandchildren. The boy on the front is my great Uncle Milton, I don’t know who the girl is holding him, but I think she and the other children are some of Sanford and Minnie’s children. My grandfather Rufus Earl is the next to the last boy. And what does the poor donkey have on his ears?

Milton, Earl and Rufus Higginbotham, other unidentified

Milton, Earl and Rufus Higginbotham, others unidentified but most probably children of Sanford and Minnie Higginbotham.

Sadly, Civil War Rufus died on the 29th of June of 1923 and this is the clipping from the Texarkana Daily News.

Rufus Francis Higginbotham Sr Obit

Rufus Francis Higginbotham Sr Obit

Rufus and his wife Margaret are buried in the Sylverino Cemetery, in Miller County, Arkansas. Their daughter Alice Crank and her husband Merit Crank are buried next to them as well as Sanford and Minnie Higginbotham, and Sanford Aubrey Higginbotham.

Rufus and Margaret Higginbotham Headstone

Rufus and Margaret Higginbotham Headstone

I’ve blogged about their headstone before here on Tombstone Tuesday – Knucklehead’s Ancestors.

If you are related to any of the above mentioned children of Rufus, I would very much like to hear from you. So far, we haven’t really connected with anyone from the other lines. It would be great to talk with some of Sanford Lullean’s descendants and I would love to find out what happened to Rufus’ son, Charles S. Higginbotham and his son Luther as I haven’t been able to track them either.

This is how I descend from Civil War Rufus. Now, you will see why I call him that. It’s easier to distinguish him.

Rufus To Susie

52 Ancestors – #3 James Edmund Harris

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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.

Please meet my 2nd great-grandfather, James Edmund Harris.  Week three and my third post in the challenge.

James Ed Harris

Grandpa Ed, as he was so affectionately called was the son of William James Harris and Mahala Valentine Harris.  He was born in August of 1864 but I have not found what day of the month he was born on.

In the 1870 census, I find him living in Ward 10, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana with his father, mother, and brother George Washington Harris.

1870 Census Harris Family

In the 1880 census, I find him living in Albany, Nevada Co., Arkansas with his father, mother, and brothers, George Washington, Jarrett R., and Levi Harris.

1880 Census Harris

On April 2, 1885 Grandpa Ed married Martha Alice Herring, the daughter of James F. Herring and Mary George Hooker Herring.

Ed and Alice Harris Marriage Record

I’m guessing here, but since they got married in 1885 in Miller County, and Martha Harris Horn and Butch Harris had these two letters from Dr. Ignatius Few, from 1891 and 1892, that he was no longer living in Nevada County but had moved to Miller County, Arkansas sometime between the 1880 census and the time of these letters. I looked up Dr. Few and he was a Dr. in Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas.

James Ed Harris Dr note May 1891

James Ed Harris Dr note April 1892

Per the bible record of Martha’s mother, Mary Hooker Herring, Ed and Alice had the following children:

Martha and Butch also had this poll tax receipt from 1900 for the 1899 poll tax year. They also have land deeds, promissory notes, and other records but it would take me days to get all those put in this post.

James Ed Harris Poll Tax Receipt 1899

On the 1900 census I find Ed and Alice with their children, a servant and Alice’s mother Mary Herring, living in Boggy Town, Miller County, Arkansas and Ed is listed as a farmer.

1900 Census Harris

In 1905, my great-grandfather Major married Mollie Agnes Davis. In this photo, ca. 1909 or 1910 of the Davis family, you can see Major and Mollie Harris on the front row, far right with Mollie holding my grandmother, Edna Harris Higginbotham who was born in 1908. Standing above them on the porch you can see Alice Harris standing to the right of the pole close to the steps and Grandpa Ed Harris standing next to her.

Davis Family ca 1910

On the 1910 Census, I find Ed and Alice living in Garland, Miller Co., Arkansas with two boarders.

1910 Census Harris

I could not find them on the 1920 census. Martha and Butch have both told me how their father Walter Harris, the son of Uncle Doc was raised by Grandpa Ed, and Momma Alice as Walter referred to them. Uncle Doc and Pearl, Walter’s parents divorced and times being hard like they were, Pearl took Earl (Walter’s brother) with her, and Grandpa Ed and Momma Alice took Walter to raise until Grandpa Ed died in 1933. Somehow I missed what Uncle Doc was doing, but I know he was always around and I’m sure he stepped in when Grandpa Ed died. You know the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Here are a few pictures that Martha and Butch shared with me.

This photo is of Grandpa Ed and Momma Alice, with Walter Harris. Martha and Butch’s father.

James Ed Martha and Walter Harris

This group photo has Grandpa Ed as the second man from the left, with Walter standing in front of him, Mollie Harris my great-grandmother standing behind him, Momma Alice next to Mollie, my great-grandfather Major Harris behind Momma Alice and I have been told that is Clarence Davis and family to the right of Major Harris but I am not sure.  If you see this Tony, let me know and I will correct this part of the post. I don’t know who the gentlemen is on the far left either.

James Ed & Martha Harris Walter Harris Clarence Davis

This group photo is again of the Harris Family.  Momma Alice is on the far left, with Grandpa Ed next to her.  Aunt Birdie Harris Williams is standing next to Grandpa Ed, and her husband T.E. Williams is standing next to her.  Walter Harris is in front of T.E. Williams. The woman behind the girl standing next to Walter is Rhodean, Uncle Doc’s second wife and to the far right, you can see Uncle Doc.  The children are Birdie’s I’m guessing, but I don’t know who the man is behind Aunt Birdie and T.E. Williams.

Martha James Ed Birdie Doc Rhodean and children

I called Martha last night and asked her if she had a story about Grandpa Ed and she shared with me that Grandpa Ed was always known to be very kind-hearted. The story had been told to her by her father Walter that when they would go downtown during the depression, Grandpa Ed would throw change out on the ground to the children on Broad St. and Momma Alice would fuss at him because she was “tight”.

I love stories like that, and I love that I have gotten to know Grandpa Ed through Martha and Butch, so a big thank you to them for sharing these photos, documents, and bibles with me.

On the 1930 census, I find them still living in Garland, Miller Co., Arkansas and indeed Walter, grandson, is listed as living with them as well.

1930 Census Harris

Martha and Butch also had a copy of his obituary, but there was no date of death written on it or in the obituary.

James Ed Harris Obit

Their headstone shed no light on specific dates either. Here is Grandpa Ed and Momma Alice’s headstone in the family plot in Harmony Grove Cemetery.

James Ed and Martha Harris Headstone

I went to the vital records office in Little Rock, Arkansas and requested a copy of his death certificate in hopes that I could find out his parent’s names but they couldn’t find his death record. I did however find his date of death eventually from the Bowden Funeral Home records.  According to the records, Grandpa Ed died on 30 Jan 1933, and Uncle Doc paid the funeral home.

Bowden Funeral Home Records

If you have more information on the Harris family, I would love to hear from you. Also, if you have a story to add about Grandpa Ed, I will be happy to do that.

Here is how I descend from Grandpa Ed.

Descendant Chart James Ed Harris to Susie

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!

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