Tag Archives: Williams

Amanuensis Monday – Letters from the Past

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Last week, on Amanuensis Monday – Letters from the Past, I shared a letter with you that my great-grandmother Dona (Williams) Higginbotham had written to the New Orleans Post Office making an inquiry into the whereabouts of the family of Elizabeth (Williams) Boullemet and her husband Stephen Boullemet.

This week, they replied!

Reply From New Orleans Post Office

Reply From New Orleans Post Office



United States Post Office
New Orleans, LA
November 10, 1917.

Respectfully returned to Inquiry from Mrs. R F Higginbotham, re Stepehen Boullimet or Miss Elizabeth Williams et ale.

Mrs. R F Higginbotham
R F D 3, Box 45
Texarkana, Ark.

In reference to your communication herewith, I beg leave to advise that our city directory shows the following: Mrs. S C Boullemet or Mrs. Nettie B Boullemet, 2695 St. Charles. Mrs. Libby Bartell, 2126 St. Thomas. Mrs. Ada Bartell, 2315 Banks St. Mrs Rusk’s name is not shown in directory.


She also received this letter, apparently around the same time according to the postmarks.

Letter From N B Boullemet

Letter From N B Boullemet



2625 Saint Charles Avenue
New Orleans

Mrs. R. F. Higginbotham

Dear Madam,

You letter of inquiry about Mr. Stephen Boullemet’s family was recv’d this afternoon – will mail your letter to Mrs. Bartels whose address is 3506 Camp Street.

Very Truly Yours,
N B Boullemet

Nov 15 – ’17

Well, now she has found them! Will Dona get the response and answers she hopes for? Has she found her father’s family?

Next week, I will share the next letter.

Amanuensis Monday – Letters from the Past

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I’ve told you all about my obsession with all things Rev. Francis Hereford Williams, so over the next few weeks I will be sharing letters with you which lead me to believe he changed his name, and just like every other human, had bad things in his past happen.  None of these things kept him from becoming a man of God.

First, I will remind you that he had suffered a gun shot wound to the head during the civil war and had gone to the Austin Confederate Home to recuperate.  I think my great-grandmother, and his daughter Dona Williams Higginbotham was searching for answers for his condition, but this will all become more clear as I share the letters with you.

This is Dona, my great-grandmother.

Dona Higginbotham

Dona (Williams) Higginbotham


Here is the first letter.

First Letter from Dona Higginbotham to New Orleans Post Office looking for Boullemet relatives.

First Letter from Dona Higginbotham to New Orleans Post Office looking for Boullemet relatives.


Here is the transcription:

Nov. 5. 1917.
New Orleans, La.

Dear Sir:

I am very anxious to get in communication with some one who is a relative of either Stephen Boullimet or his wife, who was Miss Elizabeth Williams. both of whom have been dead many years. They had two sons – Julien and Will. and two daughters Mrs Rusk and Mrs Bartell or Bartelle.

If you could give me the address of anyone from whom I could make inquiries, I would appreciate it very much.

Very Respectfully,
Mrs. R.F. Higginbotham

Next week, I will share the reply from the New Orleans Post Office.

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

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