A namesake for Nana

Families hand down names through generations. In Nana’s case, the family tradition may have been all but forgotten but still lies deep within memory. This post describes how Barbara (Friddle) Reed’ s marital identity emerged. In my next post, I will report how I determined Barbara’s maiden name of Friddle.

Back to my mother-in-law’s family tree. Nana’s first name was Barbara although she was known by her middle name.  Not unusual.  When Nana looked at a revised family scrapbook last year, she commented about the possible origin of her first name.  Had Nana’s mother heard from her father, Virgil, that his grandmother’s name was Barbara?

Barbara and her husband, John Reed, were not immediately apparent when I began researching Nana’s family tree. Their identity emerged when I asked: who are the parents of William Wylie Reed, Nana’s great-grandfather on her mother’s side? A summary of the evidence follows. Conflicting evidence about William’s birthdate muddied the waters.

According to his obituary, William W. Reed died on Sunday, 29 April 1928 at the age of 71 in Cold Springs, Texas. [1]  Although the family lived in both Cherokee and Rusk counties, Cold Springs is located in San Jacinto county. The front page obituary stated: “Mr. Reed was born in Tennessee, near Nashville in October of the year 1857, but immigrated to East Texas with his parents when he was about 3 years old.”  Neither his parents nor siblings were named in William’s obituary.  Next step: request William’s death certificate. 

What information is on William’s death certificate?  I haven’t found the certificate. Search of Texas Death Index for 1928 produced no results. I looked under surname variations (Reed, Read and Reid) and given name variations (W.W., William, William W., William Wiley, William Wylie and Wiley). Similarly, letters to Texas Department of Health and Cherokee County produced negative results. Go to census records, beginning with 1920 and move back in time.

1920 Census, William W. Reed, 64, b. Tennessee, with wife, Sammie, age 51, (maiden name Williamson) and six of their children living close by. [2]  Estimated birth year 1856, consistent with obituary. If true, parents moved to east Texas about 1869-1870. The ‘m2’ designation for William suggests that this was his 2nd marriage.

1910 Census, William W. Reed, head, 62, m2, years married: 27, birthplace: Tennessee, father born: Tennessee, mother born Tennessee. [3]  Wife, Sammie, age 42, with seven of their 8 children. William’s estimated birth year 1848 is inconsistent with obituary and 1920 census. Why the change? Because of the age difference between William and Sammie?

1900 census:  Wm W Reed, age 52, birthdate October 1847, birthplace Tennessee, married 17 years. [4]  Wife, Sammie, age 32, born June 1867 in Texas; mother of 6 children. Ages consistent with 1910 census; birthplaces consistent with 1910 and 1920 census records. William and Sammie married 4 April 1883 in Rusk county, Texas.[5]

1880 census: Name: William Reid, age 32, son, born about 1848 in Tennessee, living with Jno [John] A Reid, head, age 62, born about 1818 in Tennessee; Josie Reid, 24, daughter, born about 1856 in Texas and grandson, Willie E. Reid, age 3, born in Texas. [6] William’s age consistent with 1900 & 1910 census. Was Josie his first wife? Is John father of William or Josie? John is presumed to be a widower since there is not an older woman in the household.  

Marriage record for W.W. Reed and Josephine Reid:  married 2 December 1876 in Rusk county, Texas.[7] Josie is a derivative of Josephine. Conclusion: Josie in 1880 census is William’s wife.  Josie probably died after 9 June 1880 (census date) and before 4 April 1883 (William and Sammie’s marriage date).

1870 census: Rusk County, Texas. [8]  John, age 52; Barbary, age 48; William, age 21, born Tennessee; Mary, age 18, born Texas; Sarah, age 12, born Texas. John, Barbary, William born Tennessee. Suggests move from Tennessee to Texas between 1849 and 1852. William’s age consistent with 1880 (age 32), 1900 (age 52) and 1910 (age 62) census records. Barbary alive in 1870 and presumed dead before 1880.

1860 census: Rusk County, Texas. [9] John Read, age 41, born in Tennessee. Married to B.A., age 37, with 3 children: Wm. W, age 14, born Tennessee; Mary A, age 10, born Tennessee and Sarah, age 1, born Texas. Family includes William Faddle, 30, a farm laborer, born in Tennessee.  Family lived next to Andrew Read whose family includes 3-year-old Josephine Read. Analysis: suggests William’s birth year circa 1845-1847, within 2 years of birth as suggested by other census records. Suggests move to Texas between 1850 and 1859. Combined with 1870 census data, move to Texas by 1852. Suggests that Andrew Read was Josephine’s father. Similar surnames imply a relationship between John and Andrew.  

1850 census: McCracken, Kentucky. [10]  John A Reed, age 31; Barbara A. Reed, age 27 and Wm W Reed, age 2, all born in Tennessee. Ages consistent with census records for 1860 through 1910.  

CONCLUSION:   John and Barbara Reed are the parents of William W Reed (census records-1850, 1860, 1870, 1880). William was born in Tennessee (all census records, 1850 to 1920, obituary).  William was born in October 1847 (1900 census; suggested by 1850 to 1880, 1910 census records). Why was his age reported differently on the 1920 census? The later birth year of 1857 was obviously believed by family members as reflected in William’s obituary and on his gravestone.  Other information, i.e. “immigrated to East Texas with his parents when he was about 3 years old”, appears probable.


I reported these findings in chronological order. However, I probably didn’t find the records in that order. I am still searching 1870 census for Andrew Reed family. Writing this post, and the next one, are one way of remembering my mother- in- law. Her comments about the scrapbook led me to delve deeper into this specific family. Post is longer than I intended.

What I learned: repeat database searches. new information and documents are constantly being added. Review sources for previously overlooked information.

What helped: previous work done on Nana’s family tree.

What didn’t help: incomplete records and citations.

To-Do: write letter to funeral home requesting copy of William W. Reed’s death certificate. Continue search for Andrew Reed family in 1870 starting with Rusk county Texas.


[1] ‘William W. Reed died Sunday’, Alto Herald, Alto, Cherokee County, TX, 3 May 1928, p. 1, column 4. Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu/  : accessed & printed 9 October 2020.

[2] 1920 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, pop. sch., Justice Precinct 2, enumeration district (ED) 20, p. 12A, Family #260, William W. Reed; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, printed, downloaded 30 March 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication T625_1786..

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, population schedule, Alto, enumeration district (ED) 0014, p. 17A, dwelling 319, family 3232, William W Reed 62; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 1 July 2021); citing National Archives & Record Administration, Washington, D.C., Roll: T624_1538.

[4] 1900 U.S. Census, Rusk county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 0082, p. 9, dwelling 166, family 168, Wm W Reed age 52; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 1 July 2021); citing Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623.

[5] “Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org  : viewed 7 July 2021), Sammie Williamson & W.W.Reed; citing Rusk, Texas, United States, county courthouses, Texas; FHL microfilm 1,020,948.

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Rusk Co., Texas, population schedule, Overton, enumeration district (ED) 074, p. 58A, dwelling 140, family 142, William Reid age 32; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 1 July 2021); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., T9, roll 1325.

[7] “Texas, U.S., Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed ); citing Family Search and Texas county records.

[8] 1870 U.S. Census, Rusk county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct No. 1, p. 345 (ink pen); p. 301 (stamp), dwelling 128, family 131, John A. Reid [Reed] 52; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 11 November 2020); citing Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, microfilm publication M593_1603.

[9] 1860 U.S. Census, Rusk county, Texas, population schedule, Beat 11, Bellevue Post Office, p. 108 (ink pen), dwelling 691, family 709, John Read age 41; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 11 November 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653.

[10] 1850 U.S. Census, McCracken Co., Kentucky, population schedule, , p. 190B, dwelling 399, family 400, John A Reed 31; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 2 July 2021); citing National Archives, Washington, D.C., M432, roll 211.

Reflection on Independence Day: 2021 and an Update

Disclaimer: Parts of this post originally published 5 July 2019

This year (2021), the country feels more divided than united. All of us need to step back and reflect on the sacrifice made by those who fought for our Independence from England. Those persons were labelled rebels. Because of those rebels, we can argue about the meaning of words in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Because of those rebels, we can disagree about the date of our country’s founding.  Remember, too, that we would not enjoy these freedoms if not for those rebels. Like them or not, those rebels deserve to be remembered and celebrated by Americans on this Fourth of July.  

In this post, I update a list of persons from our (my husband’s and mine) family trees who are known or believed to be Revolutionary War patriots. Many of our personal ancestral families lived in the United States in late 1700s and early 1800s.  At least one family may have been Tories (a.k.a. supported the British). 

The roots of my family and my husband’s family run deep in America.  Neither of us have any nationally famous persons in our family trees.  Family stories told of Native American ancestry, but our DNA shows no genetic links there.  Both of us hail primarily from British Isles, Scandinavia, and western Europe. We are descended from immigrants to the United States.  Some of our ancestors influenced events locally or within their home state. Some of my husband’s ancestors owned slaves.  

Should a holiday recognize when the first African slaves were brought to America? Enslaved peoples, primarily of African descent, are definitely part of our American history.  We cannot change American history. Our interpretation of that history changes as we apply current values and beliefs to the values and beliefs held by those who lived in another time. I believe that we can teach differing views of events without belittling either side.

Acknowledge the societal norms of the times and locations that influenced our ancestors’ choices.  We cannot change our family’s history. I diligently record our family’s history and share that information with others.  I try to not pass judgment. Without all of our ancestors and those who believed in America, we would not be here!!  

Revolutionary War Patriots (known, presumed and speculative)

From my family tree:

Samuel Jones (ca 1759 – 1827); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution

Thomas Ostrander (1745 – 1816); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution

Richard Posten (1750 – after 1825); signed Articles of Association in Monmouth county, New Jersey.

Nathaniel Richards I (1759 -1831); ? New Jersey militia, family tradition.

Joseph Traver (abt 1732 – after 1790); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution

Cornelius Van Sickle (abt 1741 – 1820); served New Jersey militia; Revolutionary War pension file W6374.

From my husband’s family tree:

George Valentine Creager (1734 – 1808); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution

Thomas Ellerbee (abt 1743 – 1802); “Captain Ellerbee” mentioned in several South Carolina Revolutionary War pension files; possible distant cousin.

George Hans Friddle (1731-1805); service from family tradition.

Jonathan Roach (abt 1737 – after 1802); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019-2021. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author.