Tag Archives: Williams

Kookie’s 2012 Recap

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Today, I received a really great email from Kookie Hemperley, my cousin who makes guest posts here on occasion and I would like to share this with you:

Letter from Kookie Hemperley, my 3rd cousin 1x removed:

I really hate to see 2012 come to an end!  It has been such an amazing year in that through genealogy I have made new friends, found new cousins and made a few discoveries about myself.  Allow me to share some of it with you.

In December 2011 I connected with Susie Higginbotham Reynolds, descendent of Sarah Mildred Martin Williams, daughter of my great great-grandfather, Henry Washington Martin.  Early in January, Susie drove from her home in Mt. Vernon, Arkansas to my home on a quest to compare notes and share photos and stories on our Martin relatives.  From the moment she stepped out of her car, I knew she was my type of gal!!!  She was warm, friendly, and looked like a real go-getter.  Not only did she come bearing tons of photos, letters, etc., she also brought along another cousin, Gary Higginbotham and his wife Bessie.  I also invited Cheri Payton Atkins, a relative through Henry Washington Martin’s wife, Sarah Courtney (who remarried George Pill following Henry’s death).  We had a great day and have all become great friends besides being third cousins one time removed!

Kookie, Gary, Bessie, Cheri, and Susie

Kookie Hemperley, Gary and Bessie Higginbotham, Cheri Payton Atkins, and Susie Reynolds

Susie and I have spent countless hours on the computer emailing back and forth, texting, talking on the phone and sharing any hint of information that might lead to more discoveries about our ancestors. Sometimes we pull “all nighters” but together we have located her illusive Francis Hereford Williams and the history of his being the founder of the Highland Baptist Church in Texarkana along with another ancestor, Stephen Boullemet a native of Saint Domingue who settled in New Orleans. She’s also been back to visit several times during 2012.  How would I describe Susie?  She’s like a pugnacious little bulldog that just doesn’t give up!  Cheri and I have tromped around graveyards, visited cousins and made numerous trips to libraries and become “best buds”.

On the Stanley family tree, I was contacted by Michelle McBride during May.  Her great-grandmother and my grandfather were brothers and sisters.  Our Stanley relatives were also related to Pattillo’s and our genealogy searches have resulted in some results that one might not want to include in one’s history.  It seems my great-grandmother (a Pattillo) had a brother who shot and killed his father!  How could that be?  Well, after much research it seems the father had shot first and the son, who was charged with murder, was found not guilty of any charges at the trial.   Michelle and I agreed that it was a part of our family’s story and should be told and included in our trees.  While she and I have not had a face to face meeting, we have talked on the phone and are hoping a visit will be in store for 2013.  Michelle is also planning a visit with some of her older Stanley relatives shortly to gather more information and hopefully photos and family stories.

Then in November 2012 I was contacted by Kenneth Whitehead regarding the Hemperley family tree.  Ken is the curator of the East Point Historical Society. East Point was the area of Georgia many of the Hemperley’s lived during the 1800s.  Some of their ancestors remain in the area today.  In fact, the funeral home, which began in the early 1900s, is still offering service and comfort to those of the community.  More importantly the Hemperley’s left foot prints on the history of the area.

Ken has been most gracious in sharing documents, newspaper clippings, death certificates, etc. with me.  In fact, Lillie Ruth Hemperley has been written about in “Lil, In Celebration of Lillie Ruth Hemperley Stewart’s 99th Birthday on February 16, 2004”.  It was written by Regina Stewart.  One of Lil’s sisters, Ina Hemperley Short also wrote “As I Remember It” in celebration of her 90th birthday in October 1987. Ken has taken the time to scan over 600 documents, put them in a DVD and give it to me and other Hemperley relatives!!!  The DVD arrived a few days after Christmas and I thought, “What a wonderful belated Christmas gift”. How lucky can you be and wouldn’t it be wonderful if just one person in every family tree would save the treasures of their families and share with others.

Ken and I have also been doing a little research, via email, on members of the clan that he had not “fit” into the puzzle. Luckily, I found some information as well as did Ken.  Should you have relatives in that area of Georgia, I’m sure the East Point Historical Society would be willing to share information.  By all appearances, they have a great working society.  You can check them out on Face Book or check them out when you are in the area.

Ken Whitehead, Charles Chambers,  and Lee Barrett at the EPHS

Ken Whitehead, Charles Chambers, and Lee Barrett at the East Point Historical Society

East Point Historical Society

East Point Historical Society at 1685 Norman Berry Avenue, East Point, Georgia

While checking out the East Point Historical Society you might also want to visit Susie’s website at http://ourfamiliesuntoldstories.com.  Not only does she post genealogy there, she also is documenting her family’s day to day lives in the hills of Arkansas.

The persons mentioned here were contacts made through Ancestry.com.  Should you be contacted by someone through Ancestry, please take time to reply as you may never know what you are missing.  Don’t take everything you see on Ancestry as gospel for we all make mistakes.  And finally if you copy a photo or document from someone else’s tree, please give credit to the person who has spent endless hours collecting, proving and sharing with you.

As a reminder to those who search regularly for information on family members, I would urge you to make a New Year’s Resolution to (1) document each person in your family prior to adding them to your tree; (2) to label your photos; (3) to preserve your documents and (4) to share openly.

As sad as I am about 2012 ending, I am also happy for all the new contacts made and look forward to adding more “cousins” in the coming year.  To each of you I wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year with lots of “green leaves”.

Kookie

Thank you Kookie, for sending me this letter and thank you for singing my praises.  I am so glad to have found you and all the other cousins that I found in 2012 and I look forward to 2013 as well so that I might know my family better and continue to share the stories here on this blog.

Susie

Veteran’s Day

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Field of Heroes at Cleburne Co. Courthouse in Heber Springs Arkansas

This picture is from the Field of Heroes at the Cleburne County Court House in Heber Springs, Arkansas.  What a nice way to honor our veterans.  Each flag has a tag on it with the name of the person who served with information about them on the tag.  They are taking the flags down today in a ceremony and the family will get to keep the flag.  I wish I had known about this in time to get a flag or two.  Of course if I honored every one in my family that served I would have gone broke.

I am very proud to say that there have been many of my family members that have served our country.

My husband, John Reynolds.

My father-in-law Al Reynolds, a cousin Erby Harris, and a cousin Harry Short, all of whom served in Vietnam.

My grandfather William John Parks, my great-uncle “Son” Sam Ball, my great-uncle Sonny Cowan, a cousin Hubert Aaron (gave his life), and a cousin Walter Harris who all served during World War II.

Four of my 2nd great grandfather’s served during the war between the states;  Rufus F. Higginbotham, Francis H. Williams (head wound), John D. Parks, and Kennedy Wade Ball (leg wound).

I even have an ancestor that served in the Indian Creek War, Sanford Higginbotham and one who served in the American Revolution, Thomas Bullard.

Others that have served are my cousin Gary Higginbotham, my cousin Lauren McKeehan, a nephew (still serving) Matthew Nold, a niece Jennifer Nold Bohannon, and many, many friends.

I’m sure I have accidentally left someone off the list.  If I did, please forgive me, they deserve recognition as well and please leave their name in the comment section below so I can keep our family list updated.

Some of the people I listed are long gone, and some are still here protecting our freedom.  I’d like to thank each and every one of them for their service.

I would also like to thank every service man and woman.  You are all heroes.  May God bless you.

As Elmer Davis once said, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

The Cost of Voting

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This is my great-grandfather, Rufus Francis Higginbotham, Jr.  I’m not sure when this photo was taken, it was not dated.  Rufus was born in 1876 and died in 1923.

Rufus F Higginbotham Jr.

On my last trip to Texarkana, my Uncle Charlie Starks gave me a leather pouch that had a ton of personal papers in it that belonged to Rufus and his wife Dona.

This is Dona.  Also known as Eudonia A. Williams, wife of Rufus and daughter of my ever elusive Rev. Francis Hereford Williams.  I hope to finish my posts on him one day soon.  Anyway, here she is.  Not sure of the date on this photo either.  Dona was born in 1881 and died in 1927.

Dona Higginbotham

I pretty much figured out while researching that my Higginbotham family has always been involved in politics.  I’m not going to go into all of that, it makes my head spin, but what I wanted to show you today was the cost of voting for them.

In the leather pouch my Uncle Charlie Starks gave me, I found Poll Tax receipts.  Every time Rufus and Dona voted it cost them a $1.

Poll Tax 1897 Rufus Higginbotham

This is the earliest receipt that I found for Rufus.  His vote in 1897 cost him $1.00 and today it would have cost him $27.78.  I found poll receipts for him for the years of 1897, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, and even 1923 the year he died.  That means over the course of those years in today’s money, he would have spent $524.41.  Just to vote!  Wow!

Poll Tax 1916 Dona Higginbotham

The earliest receipt I found for Dona was 1916.  In 1916, it cost her $1.00 and in today’s money it would have cost her $20.83.  I found poll tax receipts for her for the years of 1916, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, and 1926.  Over the course of those years, that means it would have cost her $93.34 in today’s money.  Wow again!

If you are wondering how I figured that up, there is a nifty little tool HERE that will calculate the value of the dollar back then verses now.  I use this all the time, it is a great tool.

In 1964 they did away with the poll tax.  Before that my Dad (also named Rufus) can remember his parents Earl and Edna Higginbotham (Earl is the son of the above mentioned Rufus and Dona) loading up people who couldn’t pay the poll tax and taking them to the polls to vote and paying the tax for them.  That’s how important it was to them for people to vote.   There is no telling how much money they spent getting people to vote.

So, in honor of them, and because it’s important to me too, I will be casting my  vote next week.  I hope you will do the same.

I mean, why not?

It’s free now.

Boosh!

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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