March brings spring flowers and Women’s History Month. My narcissus are blooming, one of the few flowers that thrive in spite of not inheriting my Dad’s green thumb! From my husband’s family tree, Narcissus/ Narcissa Rutherford Holcomb, first wife of George Creager Holcomb, became the logical choice for this post.
George Creager Holcomb is my husband’s 3 times great grandfather on his mother’s side. My husband is descended from George and his second wife, Mary Ann Selman. Why write about Narcissus when we aren’t directly related? My husband shares a genetic link with the children of George and Narcissus. And, I know little about her. Writing posts help me focus as I search for more information.
According to an extensive history of the Holcombe family, as published  :
D-3-4-2-1-4-1 George Craiger [sic] Holcombe, p. 499.2, had a grant of 640 acres in Cherokee Co., Tex. June 24, 1851. He was the pioneer in Tex. of is family, having come from Ark. In 1842 with his father-in-law, Samuel RUTHERFORD. . . . m. 1st in Cherokee Co., Tex._____, 184_, Narcissus RUTHERFORD, who d. _____, 185__, dau. of Samuel, b. Va., ____1801 and Elizabeth, b. in Tenn. ____,1802. Ch. (b. Mt. Pleasant, Nacogdoches (now Cherokee) Co., Tex. ) 1- John Lewis, ____ 1843, d. _____1865, 2- W.____ Harrison, _____ 1845, _______, 3-Sarah, _______, 1848, _______, 4-George Washington, _____ 1850, ______.
Question 1: Who were Narcissus Rutherford’s parents?
Samuel Rutherford and Betsy Brown married on 12 October 1828 in Greene county, Tennessee. Betsy is a common nickname for Elizabeth.
The Holcombe history suggests that Samuel Rutherford lived close to George C. Holcombe’s parents, Joseph Holcombe and Sarah Creager, in Arkansas. Both families are on the same page of the 1840 census for Washington county, Arkansas:
Name: Saml Rutherford Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Mountain, Washington, Arkansas Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 3 Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39: 1 Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39: 1 Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1 No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1 Free White Persons - Under 20: 3 Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2 Total Free White Persons: 5 Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5
NOTE: Listed only male children. If Narcissa’s suggested birth year of 1827 is correct, then she would have been 13 years old in 1840. Birth years for the older male and female were between 1801 and 1810.
Name: Joseph Hanleen [Joseph Holcomb] [Joseph Haulcom] Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Mountain, Washington, Arkansas Free White Persons - Males - Under 5: 2 Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9: 2 Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 1 Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19: 1 Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49: 1 Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9: 1 Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49: 1 Persons Employed in Agriculture: 5 No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2 Free White Persons - Under 20: 7 Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2 Total Free White Persons: 9 Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9
NOTE: 1840 census for Joseph is consistent with census and other records for his family.
George Holcomb and Narcissa [sic], his presumed wife, lived in Cherokee county, Texas in December 1850. This census is the only one with Narcissa [sic] specifically named:
Holcomb, Geo, 29, M, farmer, value $1,280, born AR Holcomb, Narcissa, 23, F, born TN Holcomb, John L, 5, M, born TX Holcomb, Wm. H., 4, M, born TX Holcomb, Sarah E, 2, F, born TX
Also listed in Cherokee county in 1850 were Samuel Rutherford, his presumed wife, Elizabeth and presumed daughter, Leona :
Saml Rutherford 47 M land value 640 birthplace: Tenn Elizabeth " 46 F birthplace: Tenn Leona " 20 F birthplace: Tenn
George Creager Holcomb married his second wife, Mary Ann Selman, on 4 May 1853 in Cherokee county, Texas. 
In June, 1860, 8- year-old George W. Holcomb was living with Samuel & Elizabeth Rutherford  , presumably his grandparents. His age suggests birth year about 1851-1852. On the 1900 census, George W. Holcomb’s birth is listed as Dec 1851. George’s death certificate records his birth date as 23 December 1850. His parents are listed as “ G.C. Holcomb, born Mo [Missouri]” and “Nacis Relarford, born Mo [Missouri].” Informant was W.F. Garrison or Miles Foss Garrison, husband of George’s daughter, Ethel. As indirect information, George W. Holcomb’s death certificate plus the 1860 census back the assertion that Samuel and Elizabeth Rutherford were Narcissa’s parents.
Question 1: Who were Narcissus Rutherford’s parents?
Based on indirect evidence, Samuel Rutherford and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Brown were likely the parents of Narcissus/ Narcissa Rutherford. The assertion has not been definitely proven.
Based on 1850 census record, Narcissa was born about 1827 in Tennessee. The 1840 census for Samuel Rutherford suggests that he lived close to Joseph Holcomb’s family. Perhaps the assertion that Samuel was George Holcomb’s father-in-law is true. The troublesome information is “3 males ages 10-14” on the 1840 census. Ages of both Narcissa and her presumed sister, Leona, would be in this age range at that time.
Evidence to answer other questions remains elusive:
- When and where did George and Narcissa marry? Based on birth of 1st child in 1843, probably in 1842.
- When and where did Narcissa die? Where is she buried? Narcissa died between December 1850 (birth of last child) and May 1853 (date of George’s 2nd marriage). Possibly in Cherokee county, Texas. Perhaps she died from complications of childbirth.
- When and where did Samuel and Elizabeth Rutherford die? Where are they buried? Samuel and Elizabeth certainly died after June 1860, possibly in Cherokee county, Texas.
George, Mary Ann, and the other 3 children of George and Narcissa remain “lost” in the 1860 census. I searched images for Cherokee, Nacogdoches and Angelina counties with no results. Relatives found in Cherokee county in 1860 included George’s parents, Joseph and Sarah Holcomb, Mary Ann’s widowed mother, Ann Selman, and all of George’s siblings. Are pages missing from these records?
Much of Narcissa Rutherford Holcomb’s life and death remains a mystery to me. I hoped to discover more answers in a timely manner. I started a research log for Narcissus and documented what I had already found. I tracked my searches and recorded findings. I added the names of Narcissa’s descendants to my RootsMagic program. Maybe I’ve been spoiled because of previous successes with minimal effort? This brick wall shows only one very small crack. I’m not sure if I met the ‘reasonably exhaustive research’ genealogy standard this time.
What I learned: Census record index on Fold3 easier for me to review than index on Ancestry. Fold 3 has census records for 1860 and 1900 through 1930. Another free website found : Cemeteries of Texas (https://www.cemeteries-of-tx.com)
What helped: Holcomb history. Family tree last updated in 2016.
What didn’t help: Not having list of references cited in Holcombe history. Limited time to complete research and post per my own self-imposed deadline. Taking information in Holcombe history as fact. Cursory searches of newspapers for obituaries and other information.
Next steps: Search 1830 Tennessee census for Samuel Rutherford. Search 1860 census images again for Angelina, Cherokee and Nacogdoches counties. Are pages missing? Broaden search to other nearby counties- Anderson, Henderson, Houston, Rusk, Smith, Trinity. Identify and search other cemeteries in the three target counties. If no results, expand to cemeteries in other identified counties.
 Hannah Elizabeth Weir McPherson, The Holcombes. Nation Builders.: A Family Having as Great a Part as Any in the Making of All North American Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Elizabeth Weir McPherson, 1947), 500.
 “Tennessee State Marriage Index, 1780-2002,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNZG-PWG : accessed 19 March 2014), Samuel Rutherford and Betsy Brown, 12 Oct 1828; from “Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2008); citing p. 446, Greene, Tennessee, United States, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee.
 1840 U.S. Census, Washington County, Arkansas, population schedule, Mountain, p. 261, line 4, Saml Rutherford, Joseph Hanleen; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration,Washington, D. C. microfilm publication M704.
 1850 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, , p. 927B, household 847, family 847, Narcissa Holcomb age 23; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded ); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M432_909.
 1850 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, , p. 897B, dwelling 641, family 641, Saml Rutherford age 47; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M432_909.
 1860 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Beat 2, p. 431, dwelling 268, family 268, Samuel Rutherford; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653_1290.
 1900 U.S. Census, Anderson county, Texas, population schedule, Palestine, p. 6A (ink pen), George W. Holcomb; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T623.
 Johnson County, Texas, Death Certificate no. 37184, George Washington Holcomb, 7 July 1937; digital image in “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed & printed 3 March 2017); Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin, Texas.