Remember the babies

October is Family History Month. Did you know that October is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month? This is an especially poignant time for me as I recall my several miscarriages- i.e. pregnancies ending before 20 weeks of gestation.  We only know the gender of one of those babies- a girl with multiple genetic anomalies.  My sons know about these losses. My stories will probably fade with time and could be totally forgotten within a generation or two. In this post, I explore ways to remember those babies who died before, during or within a year or two of birth.

Before the days of effective birth control methods, women often bore children about every two or three years.  Babies breastfed for about a year which provided some contraceptive protection.  Some groups prohibited (or at least, discouraged) sexual intercourse while a mother was breastfeeding. Many children died before the age of 5.

Look at the birth dates of known children in your own family tree.  If there is more than a 2- or 3- year gap, suspect pregnancy and/or infant loss.  A young child (less than 5 years old) recorded on one census but not on the next may have died in the interim. Consider events such as war when men might be away from home for years at a time.  If the husband returned home briefly during war time, a pregnancy may have occurred. 

Records documenting losses due to miscarriages, stillbirths and premature births are not easily found.  In 1900 and 1910, census takers recorded the number of children born to a married woman and the number still living.  In my case, the record would show 2 children born and 2 living with no mention of the number of pregnancies.  One example from my family tree – Mattie Williams Johnson reported as mother of 7 and 5 living in 1900[1]; mother of 9 and six living in 1910[2].  Assertion – two children died between her marriage year of 1882 and 1900, one more died between 1900 and 1910. How can I find these children?

Obituaries of women sometimes state “She was preceded in death by an infant son [or daughter]”. Mattie died in 1936. Her obituary says that she is survived by four sons and one daughter.[3]  This roughly corresponds to the six living children reported on 1910 census.  A daughter, Laura Alice Johnson Alewine, died in 1925 at the age of 35.[4]  So, I am no closer to identifying the 3 children who apparently died young.

Earlier and later census records did not record childbirth information. Look through local newspapers and browse beyond obituaries and death notices.  Following a sentence about Sunday school attendance in the Point Enterprise section, The Mexia (Texas) Weekly Herald for 24 October 1930 reported—“The infant son of Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson was buried at this place Sunday morning with Rev J.E. Gore officiating.” [5] Later, I found the death certificate for this boy, Edward Johnson, who was stillborn. [6]  Edward was Mattie’s grandson, son of George A. Johnson and Bertha Freeman.

Search online cemetery records for persons with birth and death dates close together.  Some gravestones mark the date of death and ‘infant’ or ‘son/ daughter of _______.’  Older gravestones often list the person’s age, such as ‘age 2 months  3 days.’  I found one of Mattie’s children, Everett, born 1903, who died when he was 5 years old.  Everett’s gravestone has this information – s/o [son of ] Mattie and G.W. Johnson.[7]  Although not an infant when he died, he is one of Mattie’s three dead children.

What about Mattie’s two other children? Online trees show dates but no other information and no sources for the information provided. My preliminary, and certainly not comprehensive, searches reveal nothing further.

Where else to look for information about infant deaths? Family Bible entries may contain the only record of a child’s birth and early death.  A distant cousin graciously shared digital copies of pages from an 1876 Bible.[8]  One page has this entry:  “John Uzemer Ellerbee died December 7, 1871, aged 3 years, 3 months, 8 days”.  John’s parents were James John Ellerbee and Elizabeth Hayes.

Print sources are not always available online. Other places to check:

  •  Local genealogical and historical societies:
    •  Books of cemetery listings and obituaries published by the local society.  For example, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society publishes several books of cemetery inscriptions. Example –  Dutchess County NY Cemetery Inscriptions of Towns of East Fishkill, Fishkill & Wappinger (Kinship Books, KS-273 ISBN:1560123060).
    • Vertical files kept by these societies. Send a donation if you ask their staff to search for you.
  • Local libraries and County Clerk Offices.  Staff may or may not be able to search for you, especially if you don’t know a specific name or date.  Enlist the help of a relative or someone from a local genealogical or lineage society, if needed.
  • Walk local cemeteries. Carefully record what you find, even unreadable gravestones. A small stone next to adults could mark the grave of a child.

To review, discovering those children who died young is a challenge. Use a multitude of online and print resources. Search widely and deep. Document sources for yourself and others. Even ‘unsourced’ online trees give clues. Remember to tell the stories of all the babies, not just those who lived beyond infancy and early childhood!

REFLECTION

I am sad as I recall my own miscarriages. As a registered nurse, I worked with new mothers and both well and sick babies.  Every loss is painful. Family stories are not complete until we tell the stories of the children who never lived to have children of their own.  In this post, I primarily reported about children who died in the 20th century. However, I believe that you can use my suggestions to search for those who died in earlier times.

What I learned:  Use print resources more!

What helped:  Information already in my paper and digital files.

What didn’t help: Continuing frustration with unsourced information in online trees. Even a note “I got this from XYZ online tree; not confirmed” would be nice!

To-Do:  Add unsourced information about Mattie’s 2 other children to BSO list. Keep my eyes open for any clues.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020

SOURCES CITED

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, Armour, enumeration district (ED) 63, p. 9B, dwelling 167, family 168, George Johnson; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1655.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 32, p. 15B, dwelling 213, family 219, George W. Johnson; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication, T624_1573.

[3] “Mrs. Johnson, 75, dies on Monday,” obituary, Mexia (Mexia, Texas) Weekly Herald, 30 October 1936; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com  : viewed & printed 25 July 2020); citing The Mexia Weekly Herald newspaper.

[4] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed & printed 20 October 2020), memorial page for Laura Alice Johnson Alewine, Find A Grave Memorial # 34526511, citing New Hope Cemetery (Limestone, Texas), memorial created by Geno-seeker, photograph by PFDM.

[5] “Pt. Enterprise: The infant son . . . . “, Mexia (Mexia, Texas) Weekly Herald, 24 October 1930; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com  : viewed & printed 25 July 2020); citing The Mexia Weekly Herald newspaper.

[6] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & downloaded 21 October 2020), entry for Edward Johnson; citng Texas Department of Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[7] Interment.net, database (http://www.interment.net  :  accessed & viewed 19 January 2012), Horn Hill Cemetery, Limestone County, Texas, listing for Everett R. Johnson, b. 6 Oct 1903, d. 23 Aug 1909, citing Horn Hill Cemetery (Groesbeck, Limestone Co, Texas), compiled by Bruce Jordan, 1 November 2004.

[8] Family data, Demarious Albina Ellerbee Family Bible, Holy Bible, (New York: American Bible Society, 1876); original owned in October 2016 by Darby Blanton, [address for private use].

The Estate Auction – 1886

Have you ever attended an estate auction? Sometimes we buy items for personal use. Sometimes we buy items to re-sell in our antique booth. Recently, we held an estate sale for my mother-in-law who has moved in with us. Our personal family event caused me to think about its bittersweet nature.  Each item tells a story and has a memory attached to it. Many items remain with family. The money creates a small nest egg for her. In this post, I describe auctions held to settle the estate of a deceased ancestor, John E. Ellerbee, who died in 1884 at Hillsborough county, Florida.

Probate records provide the most information.  The term ‘personal estate’ includes livestock, farm implements, furniture and household goods. An appraisal estimates the value of these items. A list of items sold completes the picture.  Search local newspapers for notices about impending auctions.  These notices present clues about the person’s death and what property may have been left.   

To review, here are John’s vital statistics: Born about 1808 at Burke county, Georgia. Married first about 1830 at Houston county, Georgia to [name unknown]; 4 children born to this union- Edward Alexander, Elizabeth, William Green and James John.  Married second in 1842 at Randolph county, Georgia to Martha Love; 12 children born to this union- Sandlin, Smith R, Jasper, Damarius Emeline, Martha, Candis, Eliza, Worth (a.k.a. William?)  Marion, Isephinia, Osephinia, John Francis and Smithiann.  I wrote about John and his family in August 2019.  

John E.  Ellerbee died on 4 April 1884. Approximately two years later, 20 July 1886 to be exact, W.M.  Ellerbee filed a Bond of Administration at Hillsborough county, Florida.[1]  Why the wait before filing? Did John’s wife, Martha, die in the interim? (NOTE: Martha Ellerbee was recorded with her daughter, Eliza Ann Carter, in 1885 at Hillsborough county, Florida. [2] I have not found any record of Martha’s death.)

John Ellerbee’s probate record consists of over 100 pages. On 1 September 1886, W.M. Ellerbee petitioned the court for an ‘order to sell said property at public auction at the late residence of said deceased for cash and for the purpose of closing the settlement of said estate. . . “ The reason? “That said property is liable to perish or be worse for keeping.” [3] The “said property” included 1 yoke oxen (i.e. 2 oxen), 1 cart, 1 old wagon, carpenter’s tools and furniture.

Results of the auction?  The following list tells the story. Note the buyer’s names and the amounts paid for items.

SOURCE: "Florida, County Judge's Court (Hillsborough County)," digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 5 May 2019), entry for John Ellerbee; citing "Florida, Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1914" [database online], Florida County, District and Probate Courts; administrator: W.M. Ellerbee; File no. 73, paper no. 8.

In January, 1887, 160 acres of land owned by John sold at auction.  William M. Ellerbee bought the land for $445.00. [4] Add this to $51.80 from the personal property auction for a total of $496.80.  Expenses attributed to the estate included John’s funeral at $10.60 and “hawling oranges” for $2.00.  [5]  In 1888, seven persons received payments totalling  $195.92[6] :  

  • Administrator     $48.92
  • J.N. Ellerbee        $26.40
  • Ocea Ellerbee   $24.80
  • Eliza Carter         $24.80
  • Jay Stewart         $24. 80
  • Lewis Sparkman $24.80
  • Francis Ellerbee  $15.00

The balance due the estate was $300.88. Who received this money?  Heirs received annual payments  through 1895.[7]

Who were John’s heirs? One document (paper number 9) [8]  in the probate file revealed the names of John’s heirs:

This document listed married names of John and Martha’s six daughters as well as husband’s names for four of them. Also, this verified the residence for nine children, circa 1885-1887.

The document lists ‘residence unknown’ for two heirs – S. L. [Sandlin L. Ellerbee] and Emeline D. [Demarious] Simpson.  According to 1885 state census, Sandlin L. Ellerbee lived in Washington county, Florida. [9]  Emeline and her family are recorded as living in Jackson county, Florida in both 1880[10] and 1900[11] censuses.  For some reason, these two did not have contact with their siblings. 

SUMMARY:  John E. Ellerbee’s personal property and land sold for about $500 circa 1886-1887. Dishes sold for $1.10, a wagon for $1.20 and two oxen for $30.00.  The residence of two heirs was apparently unknown to the other siblings. Documents in the probate file revealed more information than I initially expected.

 REFLECTION

This post began as simply a review of the personal property auction. I shared other information found among the 100+ pages in the file. I am sometimes amazed at the amount of information, or lack of information, found in probate files. Since we attend auctions regularly, I was particularly interested in the pages having to do with the auction itself. These, and evidence of auctions for the estates of other ancestors, show that estate auctions are not a recent phenomenon.

I continue to add layers to each person’s story.  This post adds to the four posts I made last year about John, his wives and his family.

What I learned: Married names for John and Martha’s daughters. The importance of farm animals and farm implements to the 19th century farmer with household goods having less value. More to be learned from this probate record.

What helped: Discovery and printing of some pages last year. Creating pages for 2018 Ellerbee scrapbook. Availability of complete probate record online. 

What didn’t help: Incomplete information about several of John’s children. Not all information transcribed to RootsMagic program on my computer.  

To-do: Continue to complete Family Group Records and Research Logs.  Locate John’s land on GPS. What about the orange grove?


SOURCES:

[1] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 5 May 2019), entry for John Ellerbee, File no. 73; citing “Florida, Willas and Probate Records, 1810-1914” [database online], Florida County, District and Probate Courts; administrator: W.M. Ellerbee.

[2] 1885 Florida State Census, Hillsborough county, population schedule, , page 4 D (ink pen); page 105D, family 35, M. Ellerbee, age 67, boarder; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed, printed, downloaded 1 May 2019); citing Schedules of the Florida State Census of 1885, National Archives microfilm publication M845, roll 4. On same page are J.N. & Jane Ellerbee and family, LC & SM Sparkman and family.

[3] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, File no. 73, paper no. 7.

[4] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, File 73, paper no. 11.

[5] . “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, File 73, paper no. 12.

[6] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, File 73, paper no. 13.

[7] “ Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, File 73, paper no. 16. Recorded in Book C of Executors, Administrators and Administration, page 158.

[8]“Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, File 73, paper no. 9.

[9]  Sandlin Ellerbee, 1885 State Census, Washington County, Florida, population schedule, , [no page number] D, dwelling 139; microfilm publication M845_13, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 7, enumeration district (ED) 69, p. 8 (ink pen), dwelling 68, family 68, Samuel Simpson; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 29 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C .microfilm publication T9, roll 559.

[11]  1900 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, Pleasant Hill, enumeration district (ED) 0056, sheet no. 7, dwelling 102, fa ily 103, Emeline Simpson 51; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 28 September 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T623.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020

Momma moves in

A parent moves in with one of the children. Generally, the move comes after their spouse dies. Safety and/or health reasons often precipitate the move.  Other times, financial well-being is a major consideration. Loneliness can be another factor.  Any combination of these or other reasons occur.  Genealogists look for residence patterns. Does the older person stay with one child or appear in different homes? What prompts the move to one place or another? These are the family stories to be explored and told.  In this post, I give two examples from our family tree.

Census and other records show an older person living with a younger person. When there are 20 or more years difference in ages, we often guess that the older person is a parent of the older relative. Did the older person move in with the younger person? Did the younger person move in with the older person?  What factors determined the action?

EXAMPLE #1: Unmarried child as designated caregiver for older parent

Wright Roswell Ellerbee, born in 1875, was 6th of seven children born to James John Ellerbee and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Hayes. James John died in December 1877[1], leaving his wife with 6 children and her aging parent, Moses Hayes in Georgia. [2]  Within a few years, Elizabeth joined her stepson, William Green Ellerbee, in Cherokee county, Texas.  The 1900 census [3] shows 24-year-old Will [Wright] R. Ellesbee [Ellerbee] as head of household with his mother, 58-year-old Elizabeth and his brother, Asa, age 23.  Next door lived  Wright’s brother, James Walter Ellerbee, and his family.

Roles reversed for the next census. E. Ellerbee, widow, is now listed as head of household with Wright, her 35-year-old son. [4]  Again, the two brothers, Wright and James, lived close to each other.  Elizabeth died in 1917.[5]  Wright continued to live with his brother, James Walter Ellerbee, until Wright’s marriage about 1934 to Effie Susan Wesley.[6]  Wright delayed marriage while his mother was living and did not marry until he was in his 50s. Wright died in Cherokee county, Texas in December 1940 at the age of 65. [7]

Wright Roswell Ellerbee was the only unmarried child. Did he remain single from a sense of responsibility for his widowed mother?  He lived with his brother, James, for about 15 years after the death of their mother.

EXAMPLE #2:  Parents living with child, widow remains with same child

Mary Ann Selman Holcomb, age 64 and her husband, 79-year-old George Creager Holcomb, were recorded as living with their son, Garrett, in 1900.[8]  After George’s death in 1902, [9]  Mary Ann remained with Garrett, his wife, Minnie, and their seven children according to the 1910 census.  [10]  Presumbly, Mary Ann lived with Garret until her death in 1913 in Cherokee county, Texas. [11]

When did Mary Ann and George move in with Garrett? Garrett married about 1892. He and Minnie may have moved in with his parents or vice versa.  George’s advancing age likely determined this living arrangement .  Was Garrett living on the family homestead or in the family home? Did George and Mary have a closer relationship with Garrett than other children? Answers to these questions remain speculative. A will, probate file and cause of death for George Creager Holcomb may give clues.

I recall seeing other examples on our family trees, such as:  

  • Adult child moves in with parent after death of other parent. Sometimes this child was a widow or widower, with or without children.
  • After death of spouse, remaining parent moves in with child
  • Widow/ widower moves from home of one child to home of another child

TELLING THE STORIES

My examples give only the barest facts.  I plan to expand on these facts later.  To tell the story, follow journalistic guidelines and search widely:

  1. Who is the parent? Who is the child? Is the child oldest, youngest or in-between? Later census records show relationship between the head of household and others. In some cases, a parent is listed as a ‘boarder’.  An older person with a different surname is most likely to  be the wife’s parent but could be a relative of either spouse.
  2. What reason is suggested for the move? What is the child’s marital status? What are the ages of both the parent and child?
  3. When did the move occur? Estimate the time frame. Look for those wonderful newspaper tidbits – “Mrs. Mary Jones visited her daughter, Wilma Stone, this weekend then returned to her home in Wabash where she lives with her son, Phillip.” Obituaries give clues – “Mrs. Mary Jones died yesterday at the home of her son, Philip, where she had been living for the past 5 years.”
  4. Where were both parent and child living before the move? Where are they living now? Look for similar addresses.
  5. Why did the move occur? Consider elderly parent’s age, declining health, no longer being able to work, financial status. Look for cause of death as reported on death certificate as a clue. Is the child the only one still living on the family farm or in the family home? Consider this clue- “The daughters of Philip Jones are the 4th generation to live in the family home.”
  6. How did the move occur? Was it a fairly simple matter of moving some furniture from one place to another place in the same community? What type of transportation would have been used – wagon, car, truck, train, other?  Consider the effort of downsizing and the effects on the whole family.

In summary, look beyond the basic facts of an elderly person, or other relative, living with a younger person. If the census does not give relationships, consider whether the older person is really the parent of the younger person. Delve deeper into these stories to enrich your family’s story.  Even a best guess may have some truth in it!

For additional information about writing a story, read this article: How to write like a journalist

Reflection:

The topic for this post came as we prepare a room in our home for my mother-in-law. My father-in-law died last year. Since then, my mother-in-law requires more help to care for her home.  She maintains most of her self-care.  Social isolation associated with Corona virus accelerated her decision. Yes, my mother-in-law and I get along. Both of my parents are deceased.

As usual, as I write for my blog, I make progress on cleaning up paper and digital files. Five census records, 3 cemetery records, 2 marriage records, 1 death record done and 100s to go! This post helps me to do more than simply recite facts.  

What I learned:  Aging parents living with children was not uncommon. In one case, the parent lived with a different child over a 30-year period (3 decennial censuses). I have to look through all of my files to find that one again!  I realize that there is more to each story than what the census records tell.

What helped:  family tree with names and dates already recorded. Sources listed for facts.

What didn’t help:  Incomplete citations.  Not all information in the records had been transcribed to computer-based family tree.  

TO-DO:  Include living arrangements and my best guess in notes.  Write stories that go beyond the facts. Begin journal about current move.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020

SOURCES:

[1] Ronald William Ellerbe, The Ellerbe Family History (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1986), pp. 14-42 & 14-43.

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Early Co, Georgia, pop. sch., Damascus, enumeration district (ED) 026, p. 214A, family #, Elizabeth Eleby; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded, printed 4 September 2011); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. NARA Roll 144..

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, pop. sch., Justice Pct 8, enumeration district (ED) 30, p. 284A (printed), Family #22, Wright Ellerbee (head); digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com  : downloaded & printed 4 September 2011); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Roll: T623_1619..

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, pop. sch., , enumeration district (ED) 24, p. 14B, family #272, E. Ellerbee, head; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : downloaded 2012); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., Microfilm publication T624_1619.

[5] Find a Grave. Elizabeth Ellerbee. Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 8 August 2020), memorial page for Elizabeth A Hayes Ellerbee, Find A Grave Memorial # 35222677, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Wanda Karr Ellerbee, photograph by Wanda Karr Ellerbee..

[6] Marriage of Wright Roswell Ellerbee to Effie Susan Wesley estimated from 1940 Census showing Wright, wife Effie and son, Omar Lee, age 5.

[7] Texas Death Index. “Texas Death Index, 1903-2000,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 8 August 2020), entry for Ellerbee, Wright Roswell; citing Texas Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Austin, TX.; page 7166, certificate no. 54106.

[8]  1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Alto, enumeration district (ED) 20, p. 13A, dwelling 221, family 227, George Holcomb age 79; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1619.

[9]  Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 8 August 2020), memorial page for George Creager Holcomb, Find A Grave Memorial # 32434400, citing Shiloh Cemetery (Alto, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Susan Harnish, photograph by Denise Brown Biard Ercole.

[10]  1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Alto, enumeration district (ED) 0014, p. 20A, dwelling 367, family 371, Mary Ann Holcomb age 74; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T624_1538.

[11]  Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed 8 August 2020), memorial page for Mary Ann Selman Holcomb, Find A Grave Memorial # 01196611 , citing Shiloh Cemetery (Alto, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Judy Murphy, photograph by Judy Murphy.

Catherine Deborah Brown Powell Barker: Part 5. Blended family series-Powell, Brown, Barker

Twice wed, twice widowed, twice stepmother to another woman’s chlldren and mother of six.  Those words summarize the matrimonial life of Catherine D. [Brown] Powell Barker. This post is the fifth (and last) in this series about one blended family in my husband’s family tree.  Catherine was second wife of James Thomas Lafayette Powell; Catherine and James are my husband’s great-great-grandparents on his dad’s side.venn diagram_blended family_copy2

Briefly, James T.L. Powell fathered three children with his 1st wife, Deborah Daniel. His 2nd wife was Catherine Deborah Brown, the subject of this post. James died in 1890, leaving Catherine a widow with 3 living children aged 2 to 11 years. Elias Barker fathered six children with his 1st wife, Launa Barber. Elias and Catherine married in 1892 and brought three more children into the world. Catherine is the one person held in common by all of these children.

PROFILE: Catherine Deborah Brown

BORN:    19 November 1860, Mississippi (possibly Simpson county)

MARRIAGES:  1st–22 March 1877 to James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas. James died 1890 at De Soto, Louisiana. 2nd – 1 September 1892 to Elias Barker at Cherokee county, Texas. Elias died 20 August 1900 at Cherokee county, Texas.

DIED:     10 March 1944, Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas

BURIED: Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas

PARENTS:  R.L. Brown & Marguerite Puckett (as named on Catherine’s death certificate)

PLACE IN HISTORY:

1861 – 1865:  Civil War. Catherine and her parents lived in Mississippi. Relatives fought on the side of the Confederacy.

30 March 1870 – Texas readmitted to the Union.

October 1870 – Brown family moved to Cherokee county, Texas.

1870s to 1930s – agricultural growth, especially cotton in Cherokee county. Railroad expansion meant that smaller towns disappeared. Sawmill towns proliferated in East Texas.

1930s- farming declined in the area although cotton is still a significant crop. Timber and cattle becoming more prominent.

CATHERINE’S STORY:

Catherine barely remembered her life before Texas. She called Cherokee county, Texas, her home for 60 years and that’s where she is buried. Married at 17 to a widower with 3 children,  life revolved around her husband, James Powell, children and step-children.  She loved them all.  She bore the loss of at least one child, possibly two. Then, unexpectedly, James died in 1890. Catherine, only 30 years old, became a widow with three young children to raise. The next years were difficult for the family.

Elias Barker’s family lived near James and Catherine. Remember, ‘near’ in the 1890s meant within a mile or two or on the next farm. When Elias’ wife, Launa, died in 1892, Catherine may have attended the funeral.  However they met, Elias and Catherine married in September 1892 and another blended family was born.  Three children were born to this union: Reba Barker in 1893; Ernest Emory Barker in 1896 and Alpha M. Barker in 1898. Their happiness was short-lived. Elias Barker died in August 1900, only months after the Twelfth Census of the United States.  Ten years after the death of her first husband, Catherine again found herself a widow with young children to raise.

During the next years, the family moved from place to place. 1910 found Catherine as head of household in Wildhurst, Cherokee county, “one of the many sawmill towns in East Texas,”  with her three children by Elias Barker.  Sometime after this, she became dependent on her children.  In 1920, Catherine lived with her son, William Powell, in Alto, Cherokee county,  Texas.  Between 1920 and 1930, she moved to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, with her daughter, Reba Barker Dennis.  They moved back to Texas by 1935 and resided in Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas in 1940.

Children of Elias Barker and Catherine Brown Powell:

  1. Reba ‘Bertie’ Barker. (5 August 1893 – February 1990). Married Joe Mavert Dennis. Reba and Joe had two children: Lilly Kathryn Dennis (25 March 1915 – October 1993), married in 1935 to Alton G. Hall (1904 – 1985);  Joseph M. Dennis JR (12 September 1923 – 17 November 1999), married to  Betty F. Thomas ( 1924- 2016 ).
  2. Ernest Emory Barker (17 February 1896 – 23 October 1965). Married 4 May 1919 to Willie Etta Mae Chilcoat (1902-1944). Children of Ernest and Willie Etta: Norma Kathryn Barker Carlin (1921-2016); Clara Inez Barker Kelly (1924-2011); Edith Mae Barker Meadows (1926-1996); Billie Nell Barker Benoit (1928 – 1997); James Reginald Barker (1930-1992); Roy Milton Barker (1935 – 2006); Reba Sue Barker Tomplait (1939 – ? ).
  3. Alpha M. Barker (6 September 1898 – 19 March 1991). Married about 1921 to Sherman Albert McCoy (11 Dec 1895- 8 August 1966). Children of Alpha and Sherman: Albert Merle McCoy (1921-1968); Billy O. McCoy (1924 – 1925); Donald Ray McCoy (1938-2007).

Mrs. Catherine Barker died on March 8, 1944, in Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas at the age of 83 years, 3 months and 20 days. Cause of death? Uremia, an elevated level of waste products in the kidneys, usually the result of chronic kidney disease.  She is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery at Wells, Cherokee county, Texas, near Elias Barker.  Interestingly, her gravestone shows her name as “Kathryn”.  She signed her name as “Mrs. Catherine Barker” on her Widow’s Pension Application and “Catherine” is the spelling that I use.

Journeys taken by Catherine Brown Powell Barker:

About 1870:  Simpson county, Mississippi to Cherokee County, Texas – about 360 miles

1870 to 1920:  Within Cherokee County, Texas – about 10 to 15 miles for each move

Between 1920 &  1930:  Alto, Cherokee County, Texas to Homer, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana—about 180 miles

Between 1930 & 1935:  Homer, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana to Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas – about 245 miles

1944:  Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas to Wells, Cherokee County, Texas – about 145 miles

Texas_LA_map_crop4_colors_counties_legend

 

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This series represents work that began in 2011. I added some details in 2017 and more as I wrote.  Confession time–I consulted more sources than are listed here. I was not as obsessive about listing each source separately. Why? No specific reason. I have the documents and references in my paper and digital files. If you want or need a more complete list, I will provide it to you.  Future posts will revert to  more comprehensive source lists.

What I learned:  There are multiple stories for each person. I enjoyed writing the stories as I tried to personalize the events in each person’s life.  Call the stories ‘historical fiction’ if you like. I don’t have evidence to support parts but the stories are based on real events.

What helped:  Previous work on the Ellerbee family. Semi-complete paper files. Entering information to Roots Magic. Catherine’s middle name from death certificate of daughter, Katherine Deborah Powell Ellerbee.

What didn’t help: Incomplete information about some of the children in each nuclear and blended family.

To-do:  Continue to follow collateral lines at some point in future.  Search for picture of Catherine Brown Powell Barker.  Consolidate all 5 parts into a cohesive document and send for publication in local or state journal.  Consider a ‘process’ post about how I put information together.  Explore Catherine’s connection (1910 census) to Wildhurst, Texas, a town that ceased to exist after the sawmill closed in 1944.

SOURCES: 

Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 9 November 2017); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982”, Austin, Texas.

Catherine Brown & J T L Powell:  “Texas, Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 1 February 2020), entry for J.T. L. Powell and Catherine Brown; citing Texas Department of State Health Services and county marriage records on microfilm located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Catherine Barker widow’s pension: “Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension”, 8 February, 1932, Catherine Barker, widow’s pension application no. 50567,service of James Thomas Lafayette Powell (lieutenant, Co. C, 25th Regiment Georgia Infantry, Civil War); “U.S. Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958,”   Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed,downloaded, printed 29 Nov 2012)  citing Texas, Confederate Pension Applications,1899-1975, Vol. 1-646 & 1-283, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

“Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2002,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed and printed 29 November 2012), entry for E. Barker and Mrs. Catherine Powell, 25 September 1892; citing Texas Department of State Health Services and county marriage records on microfilm located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 0030, p. 1B (ink pen) & p. 2A, dwelling 16, family 16, Catherine Booker [Barker]; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, downloaded 9 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T 623, Roll 1619.

1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Wildhurst, enumeration district (ED) 24, p. 1A (ink pen), dwelling 5, family 5, Catherine Barker head, age 48; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_1538.

1920 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Alto town, Justice precinct 2, enumeration district (ED) 21, p. 6B (ink pen), dwelling 127, family 131, Barker Katherine, mother, age 62; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, downloaded, printed   11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T625_1786.

1930 U.S. Census, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Homer City, enumeration district (ED) 14-16, p. 7B (ink pen), dwelling 145, family 146, Borker [Barker] Kathyrn, mother, age 69; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T626.

1940 U.S. Census, Jefferson county, Texas, population schedule, Port Arthur, enumeration district (ED) 123-100, p. 15A (ink pen), dwelling 331, Barker Catherine, age 79; digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com       : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T0627_04079.

Find A Grave memorials for Reba Barker Dennis, J.M. Dennis, Lilly Kathryn Dennis, Alton G. Hall, Joseph M. Dennis, JR ; Emory Ernest Barker, Billie Nell Barker Benoit; accessed November 2019 through January 2020.

Texas Birth Index entries for Reba Sue Barker, Lilly Kathryn Dennis; accessed January 2020.

John R. Ross, “Cherokee county”, no date, Texas State Historical Association (https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcc10   :   accessed 15 Jan 2020).

“Wildhurst, Texas,” no date, Historic Texas (https://historictexas.net/cherokee-county/wildhurst-texas/  :   accessed 2 February 2020).

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2020

 

Back to the Blended Families- Elias Barker and 1st wife, Euna Barber

With this post, I continue the story of one blended family in my husband’s family tree.  Briefly, I started with James T L Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah Daniel (nuclear family #1) then told about James T L Powell and his 2nd wife, Catherine Brown. James and Catherine are my husband’s great-great grandparents on his dad’s side.  Now, I turn to the other nuclear family—Elias I. Barker and his first wife, Launa/ Euna Barber.

Barker_barber family

To catch you up, three posts began the longer story:

  1. Blended family introduction 
  2. James T L Powell and Deborah A.C. Daniel
  3. James T L Powell and 2nd wife, Catherine Brown

PROFILE: Elias Barker

Born: September 1853 in Milam County, Texas.

Married: 13 August 1874 at Milam county, Texas to Launa Barber.  Launa Barber Barker died in 1892, presumably at Cherokee County, Texas.

Died:  20 August 1900 in Cherokee County, Texas.

Buried:  Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas.

PLACE IN HISTORY

December 1845 –  Texas admitted to union as a state.

1 February 1861 – Texas seceded from the Federal Union.

October 1861- General H. H. Sibley marched troops west from San Antonio “to claim New Mexico and the American southwest for the Confederacy.”

1 January 1863 – Battle of Galveston. The seaport returned to Texas control.

13 May 1865- Last land engagement of the Civil War fought at Battle of Palmito Ranch in south Texas, more than a month after General Lee’s surrender.  Elias Barker was 12 years old.

1866- Beginning of Texas trail drives era, moving cattle from Texas to northern markets.

30 March 1870 – Texas readmitted to the Union.  Reconstruction continues until about 1874.

ELIAS’ STORY- PART 1

March 1861. From their bed, eight-year-old Elias Barker and his brothers tried to hear what their parents were whispering about.  But they couldn’t make out any of the words. Whispering adults only meant one thing—trouble or a new baby. The next morning, Papa, his gun and knapsack with some food were gone before the sun rose.  Elias’ mother answered his question before he could even ask- “Papa’s gone hunting. He’ll be gone for a while.  You children eat breakfast then go do your chores like usual.”   But, Momma wasn’t smiling today like usual.  Later that day, Elias heard his momma talking to Mrs. Edwards  about “secession” – whatever that meant.  Some men and older boys had already left their homes and families to join some kind of fight. Life would not be ‘usual’ for a long time.

Those years changed Elias’ life in myriad ways. Death visited the community on a regular basis.  The color of black was everywhere. People anxiously gathered to read, or listen to, the local newspaper each time it was put on the wall outside of the newspaper office.  The words ‘killed’, ‘injured’ and ‘missing’ became everyday part of the community’s vocabulary.  Elias longed for a time without so many hardships.  Life on the farm went on, pretty much as usual.  Some of the men and boys returned but not all.  Those who returned had both physical and emotional scars.  Did Elias’ family lose a father, brothers, cousins? I’m not sure but it is certainly possible.

Elias had his eye on Euna Barber since she was a girl.  When she turned 16, Elias asked her daddy for her hand in marriage.  They wed on August 13, 1874, in Milam county, Texas.  Children did not come easily to the young couple.  Elias and Euna moved to Lee County, Texas where their first surviving child, Tempie D. Barker, entered the world in February 1880. More children quickly followed:  Arthur in March 1882; Isaac in August 1884; James Milton in September 1886; Cora in January 1889; and Katie L. in February 1892.  Six children in twelve years, a typical pattern for many couples of that era.  They led a simple life as farmers in east central Texas. Life as usual as it could be in eastern Texas after the Civil War.

Tragedy struck, almost without warning. After Katie’s birth, Euna died, probably from complications of childbirth. At age 39, Elias found himself a widower with six children under the age of 12, including an infant. Elias’ usual life again turned upside down. Thirty-two year old Catherine Powell, widowed two years earlier, was raising three children of her own. A marriage of convenience to meet mutual needs? Perhaps. Whatever the reason, Elias and Catherine married on 1 September 1892 at Cherokee county, Texas. Catherine again became a tie joining two families.

Children of Elias Barker and Euna Barber:

  1. Tempie D. Barker (28 February 1880 – 13 April 1966). Married Albert Barthlomew Stokes (1873-1927). Tempie and Albert had 5 children:  Carrie E (1896-1979), married 1st to E.M. Moore; 2nd to  Joseph Lenoah Stinson; Ima Stokes (1899 -1917); Ethel Stokes (1902-1991), married to George Barham Spencer (1899-1980); Malcolm Stokes (1905-1979), married to Viola Julia Artlip (1908-2002); Myrtle Stokes (1909-1999), married to _____ Leach.
  2. Arthur Barker (22 March 1882 – 8 August 1956). Married Lou Etta Hill (1873-1930). Arthur and Lou Etta had 4 children: Una Mae Barker (1903-1990), married to Nolan V. Lawhorn (1885-1963; Vada Irene Barker (1905-1992), married to Curtis Baldwin (1891-1972); Elias Morris Barker (1916-1997), married to Emma Lou Rhodes (1920-1987); Esther Barker (1919-1998), married to Jessie H. Dunn (1918-1996).
  3. Isaac Barker (1884 – ? ). No records found beyond 1900 census.
  4. James Milton Barker (6 September 1886 – 13 July 1920).
  5. Cora Barker (January 1889 – 1906).
  6. Katie L. Barker (28 February 1892 – 8 September 1943). Married to John Bunion Stinson. Katie and John had 4 children:  Coy Stinson (15 April 1913- 10 July 1986); Muriel Stinson (1918 –  ?); Hazel Stinson (1922 –  ?); Milton Stinson (29 April 1929 – 20 November 1999).

Next post:  The rest of the story- Catherine Brown Powell and Elias Barker.

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Reflection:

Records for Elias and Euna/ Launa before their marriage elude me.  Typing in names and dates did not produce immediate results.  Family Search website identified Isaac Barber and Tabitha Gardner as her parents. 1870 census for Isaac and Tabitha showed an 11-year-old daughter named Rohda [Rhoda?].  No other hints or shaky leaves have presented themselves.  I manually searched the 1870 census for Milam county, Texas- all 230 pages of it- and ate only 2 cookies during that process. Neither Barker or Barber found on 1850 or 1860 slave schedules for Milam county, Texas.    Next step:  consult print copy of alphabetized census records at Oklahoma Historical Society Library in Oklahoma City.

What I learned:  Tracking children who aren’t on any census record is a challenge. I found Arthur only because he is buried in the same cemetery as his parents and stepmother, Knowing the names of Elias and Euna’s parents doesn’t really affect their story as a married couple but is a ‘nice to know’ item for me.

What helped: Searches done in 2016. Multiple online resources. I am using online newspaper sources for obituaries more.

What didn’t help: Frustration at not being able to find or confirm the parents of either Elias or Euna. Finally recognized that this is a BSO for another day.

To-Do:  Add ‘find parents of Elias Barker’ and ‘find parents of Euna Barber’ to BSO list.  Add information about Elias’ children with his first wife to Ancestry tree.

SOURCES:

“Texas, County Marriage Records, 1817-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 10 October 2019), entry for Elias Barker and Launa Barker; citing “Marriage Records, Texas Marriages,” Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

“Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension”, 8 February, 1932, Catherine Barker, widow’s pension application no. 50567,service of James Thomas Lafayette Powell (lieutenant, Co. C, 25th Regiment Georgia Infantry, Civil War); “U.S. Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958,”   Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed,downloaded, printed 29 Nov 2012)  citing Texas, Confederate Pension Applications,1899-1975, Vol. 1-646 & 1-283, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

1880 U.S. Census, Lee county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 094, p. 79A (stamp); p. 49 (ink pen), dwelling 316, family 319, Elias Barker age 26; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, printed, downloaded 10 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 1316.

1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 0030, p. 1B (ink pen) & p. 2A, dwelling 16, family 16, Catherine Booker [Barker]; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 9 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T 623, Roll 1619.

Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed & printed 10 January 2020), memorial page for Elias Isaiah Barker, Find A Grave Memorial # 79869838, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by seemore, photograph by Deb.

Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com) entries for Elias Isaiah Barker, Euna Barker, Arthur Barker, James Milton Barker, Cora Barker (buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas);  Tempie D. [Barker] Stokes and Katie L. [Barker] Stinson (buried in Eden Cemetery, Douglass, Nacogdoches, Texas).

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog

 

 

Catherine D. Brown Ellerbee Barker: The tie that binds

Ellerbee-Powell-Barker Blended families: Part 3

Blended families are not new or unique to the 20th century.  Genealogists regularly encounter men with sequential, multiple wives and women with sequential, multiple husbands.  Widows and widowers often married men and women with children from a previous marriage.  This series began with a  summary of one blended family in the Ellerbee family tree. Next, I told about James T.L. Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah A.C. Daniel. Now comes Catherine Brown, 2nd wife of James T.L. Powell and the tie that binds the Ellerbee and Barker families together.

red scarf bow

Tied Red Scarf.  Original photo by Susan Posten Ellerbee

PROFILE: Catherine Deborah Brown

Born:     19 November 1860, Mississippi (possibly Simpson county)[1]

Married:  22 March 1877 to James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas[2]

Died:     10 March 1944, Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas[3]

Buried: Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas

Parents:  R.L. Brown & Marguerite Puckett (as named on her death certificate)

Children:

  1. Katherine Deborah Powell (18 August 1879, Cherokee county, Texas – 9 July 1959, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas)[4]. Married 27 January 1895[5] at Cherokee county, Texas to James Walter Ellerbee (7 December 1872 – 9 September 1942)[6], son of James John Ellerbee and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Hays. Katie and Walter are my husband’s paternal great-grandparents. 6 children: Odie Lesley (1896-1958), Ernest Aver (1897-1951), Evie (1901-1994), Aver I (1906-1928), Ordra (1907-1987), and James Dreebon (1915-1973).  James Dreebon Ellerbee is my husband’s grandfather.  Their stories are for a later post.
  2. William Ball Powell. (19 February 1882, Cherokee county, Texas – 25 January 1960, Cherokee county, Texas).[7] Married about 1905 in Cherokee county, Texas to Maude F. Chumley (18 October 1888 – 22 March 1958), daughter of Tom Chumley and Frances Hagood. [8] William and Maude apparently divorced and Maude remarried to _____________ Conway.   William and Maude had 4 children: Thomas Otis (1906-      ); Madaline (28 March 1908 at Nacogdoches, Texas -27 May 1909)[9]; Muriel (1912 –      ) and Margaret Nancy (7 October 1915 – 25 October 1977), married  to Tommy Ford.[10]
  3. Jessie Powell (27 January 1889 -26 November 1959), [11]. Married 1st on 24 December 1905 at Cherokee county, Texas[12] to John Thomas Beasley (20 October 1873 – 29 March 1918)[13] . Married 2nd on 29 September 1918 to Robert C. Thames. [14] * ( 1873 – before 1930). Married 3rd between 1930 & 1940 to Gust Karl Beyers (25 November 1880, Germany – 25 October 1967,  Lufkin, Texas)[15].  Children: Mattie Beasley (1907 –      ); Alma Beasley (1909 –    ); Thomas Layfeet Beasley (1910 –     ); Homer Beasley (1912 –    ); Nettie Beasley (1914    –     ); Buford Beasley ( 1919 –     ); Harold Thames (1920 –     ).

PLACE IN HISTORY:

Catherine’s life spans two centuries and eight decades. Modes of transportation changed from horse-drawn buggies  and wagons to motor cars. Wide availability of electricity markedly changed lives from candles to electric lights and wood stoves to ones powered by gas or electricity.  In-door plumbing generally made life easier.

June, 1870: 10-year-old Catherine Brown in Simpson county, Mississippi with presumed parents, W.P. and Mary J.  Brown.[16]  Her father probably fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Between June 1870 & December 1872: Brown family relocated to Cherokee county, Texas.

March 1877:  17-year-old Catherine D. Brown married James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas. Her parents apparently moved to Texas.

August 1879: Birth of daughter, Katherine Deborah, in Cherokee county, Texas.

June 1880: James & 20-year-old Catherine in Cherokee county, Texas, with her stepsons, Alvey, 14;  J.M, age 12, and Peter, age 9 plus 9 month old daughter, D.C.

February 1882: Birth of son, William B. Powell in Cherokee county, Texas.

January 1889: Birth of daughter, Jessie Powell in Cherokee county, Texas

September 1890: James T.L. Powell dies at DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. He was probably visiting his son, Peter.  Catherine was now a widow with 3 young children.

September, 1892: Angelina county, Texas. Catherine Brown Powell married Elias Barker, a widower with six children.

CATHERINE’S STORY:

Catherine Brown was a Southern girl through and through. Moving to Texas when she was 12 years old, she barely remembered Mississippi before the Civil War. Her daddy followed an oft traveled route from the devastated South to the promise of a better life in Texas.  They possibly lived close to James T.L. Powell, Deborah and their 3 children. In rural Texas, ‘close’ could mean within a mile or two. When she was 16 years old, Catherine married 41-year-old James, now a widower, and assumed care of his sons, now  6, 9 and 11 years old. James had given up teaching school to become a farmer.  The older boys married, began their own families and eventually moved to Louisiana. Three children of her own (Katherine, born 1879; William, born 1882; Jessie, born 1889) enriched Catherine’s life.  An event in Louisiana in 1890 had unforeseen consequences. Alvey Monroe Powell, James’ 1st grandchild, was born to Peter and his wife, Evelyn Spinks. A visit was certainly in order. Whether Catherine and their young children accompanied James is unknown. In September 1890, 65 year old James died in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, where he is buried.  Catherine, now 30 years old, became a widow with three young children. She endured for two years before marrying Elias Barker, a widower with 6 children.

Next in the series:   Elias Barker &  Catherine Brown Powell or Elias Barker & his first wife. To be published in January, 2020.

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Reflection

This is the 3rd  installment of my series about one set of blended families. I followed the outline started with the 2nd  installment – person profile, place in history, narrative story. I found this format on a webpage with scrapbooking ideas. The format helps me to be more concise and to write a more interesting story.

Earlier this year, a Brown family descendant contacted me. The person is a DNA match with my father—in-law. We traded ideas and information about the names of Catherine’s parents.

What I learned:  Writing a narrative that isn’t just reciting facts is challenging. I like the finished result.

What helped:  Previous completed research on the family.

What didn’t help:  Waiting until the last minute to begin the post.  Incomplete research logs and copying of information to RootsMagic tree on my computer.

To-do:  Update information about William Ball Powell and Jessie Powell on home computer.  Create research logs.  BSO for later—follow descendants of William Ball Powell and Jessie Powell.

SOURCES: 

[1] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 9 November 2017); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982”, Austin, Texas.

[2] “Texas Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 9 December 2019); entry for J.T.L. Powell and Catherine Brown, 19 April 1877, Cherokee county, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[3] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944.

[4] Cherokee county, Texas, certificate no. 36955, Katherine Deborah Ellerbee, 9 July 1959; digital images, Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com  : viewed, printed, downloaded 4 October 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Austin, Texas.

[5]. Texas Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 9 December 2019); entry for Katie Powell  and Walter Ellerbee, 27 Jan 1895,  Cherokee county, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[6]. Cherokee county, Texas, Texas, Death certificates,1903-1982, certificate no. 39161, J.W. Ellerbee, 9 September 1942; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 26 September 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin, Texas.

[7] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 12 November 2019), memorial page for William B. Powell, Find A Grave Memorial # 91355097, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Wanda Karr Ellerbee, photograph by Wanda Karr Ellerbee.

[8] Bexar county, Texas, Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982, certificate no. 13386, Maude Chumley Conway, 22 March 1958; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & printed 12 November 2019); Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed & printed 11 October 2019), memorial page for Madaline Powell, Find A Grave Memorial # 103081400, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas).

[10] “U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 12 November 2019), entry for Margaret Nancy Powell Ford; citing Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.

[11]  “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” digital images, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org     : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019), entry for Jessie Byers, daughter of Tom Powell and Kathryn Brown; citing State Registrar Office, Austin, Texas; Vol. 132, certificates 065501-066000,Nov-Dec, Wheeler_-Bexar counties.

[12]  “Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,”  database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019; entry for J.T. Beasley and Jessie Powell, Cherokee county, Texas.

[13]  “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019); entry for John Thomas Beasley, died 29 March 1918, Wells, Cherokee, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[14]  “Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,”  database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019; entry for Jessie Beasley and R.C. Thomes,  Cherokee county, Texas.

[15]  Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed and printed 11 October  2019), memorial page for Gust Karl Beyers, Find A Grave memorial no.69403504, citing IOOF Lufkin Cemetery, Lufkin, Angelina, Texas.

[16] 1870 census Catherine. 1870 U.S. Census, Simpson county, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 1, p. 266A, family 486, Catherine Brown age 10; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 23 January 2016); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_748.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

School teacher, soldier, farmer-James T.L. Powell

Every soldier has a story before they became a soldier. In genealogical research, I sometimes identify people only in terms of their military experience. But, there is more to each person’s story. Previously, I wrote about a Confederate soldier, James T. L. Powell. This post describes James in terms of his other roles — son, husband, father and school teacher and farmer.

Little Creek School house, circa 1870, Buchanan, posted July 11, 2017.  Courtesy Brian Brown/Vanishing North Georgia

Profile: James T.L. Powell & Deborah Daniel (1st wife)

For more information about education in the 1860s:

 “Education during the 1860s,” American Battlefield Trust, no date ( https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/education-during-1860s   :   accessed 5 November  2019).

Elyse Hoganson,  “The evolution of  schools in Bartow County, Georgia,”  Etowah Valley Historical Society,  no date  (https://evhsonline.org/archives/43743   : accessed 5 November2019).

Brian Tomlin. “Schooling of the 1860s”,  Civil War Blog,  a project of PA Historian,  26 March 2012 (https://civilwar.gratzpa.org/2012/03/schooling-of-the-1860s/   :  accessed 5 November 2019).

Reflection:

I rewrote this post more often than usual. I just wasn’t happy with my standard recitation of facts and questions. I googled ‘writer’s block’ and found a website, “Warts and All” (https://wartsandall.blog/2019/06/25/writers-block/ ) with some ideas and templates. I tried one of the templates and liked the relative clean look. The result is this post.  

I still have lots of questions about James and Deborah. I didn’t meet the ‘reasonably exhaustive’ research criterion.   I checked Family Search again for new documents – no results. I checked Internet Archive for books about the histories of Calhoun county, Georgia and Cherokee county, Texas.  I found one book about each with no results for relevant persons with surnames of Powell or Daniel.  Print books are available at libraries distant from me. I searched Louisiana newspapers (Newspapers.com) with mixed results, specifically obituaries for Alvey and some of James’ grandchildren. Research about these descendants is not complete.

Unexpected result:  Grandparents of Cora Dowdle  (wife of Alvey Powell) are Stephen Myers Hester and Mary Delphine Fayard. Stephen and Mary are also grandparents of Deedie Bailey Simmons, my husband’s great-grandmother. My husband shares more DNA with Alvey and Cora’s descendants than we thought!

What I learned/ recalled:  Value of using multiple sources. Obituaries often give married names of female siblings and daughters.  More than one way to present information.

What helped:  Previous research about James and Deborah virtually complete with research logs and sources.

What didn’t help:  Stopping to follow-up on James and Deborah’s descendants. Finally realized that I didn’t need to include all information about all descendants for this post. I still can’t confirm Deborah’s death date or place! 

To-DO:  Obtain death certificate copies for Alonzo Powell (died 1940, Louisiana); James M Powell (died 1948, Louisiana) and Peter Powell (died 1955, Louisiana). Add to BSO list – create research logs for Alonzo, James & Peter; learn more about their children. Questions:  Who moved to Louisiana first? What was reason for moving from Texas to Louisiana?  Follow Miles & Mahala Buzby as clue to James’ parentage. Mahala could be related to James. Discover information about Thomas and Eleanor Daniel, presumed parents of Deborah A.C. Daniel.  

Sources for James T.L. Powell, School Teacher

Sumter County, Georgia, Marriage Books, Sumter County Ordinary Court, 1850-1857, p.218, no. 24, James T.L. Powell, Deborah A.C. Daniel, 28 June 1857; digital images, University System of Georgia, Georgia Archives (http://vault.georgiaarchives.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/countyfilm/id/289112/rec/3      : accessed,downloaded, printed 24 March 2017); Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, pop. sch., 3rd Distric, p. 139 (stamped), dwelling 335, family 335, James T.L. Powell age 25; digital images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com   : accessed, downloaded & printed 8 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653_113.

National Archives & Records Administration, “Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 8 October 2018), entry for Powell, James T.L., 18 pages; citing NARA M266. “Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Georgia units, labeled with each soldier’s name, rank, and unit, with links to revealing documents about each soldier.” Roll 0366.

1870 U.S. Census, Calhoun County, Georgia, population schedule, Militia District 626, p. 55 (ink pen, p. 585 (stamp), dwelling 510, family 486, Jas T L Powell; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, downloaded. printed 9 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_138.

“Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2002,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 1 November 2019), entry for J.T.L. Powell and Catherine Brown, 19 April 1877, Cherokee county; citing county courthouse records  extracted from copies of original records in microfilm, microfiche, or book format.

1880 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct no. 8, enumeration district (ED) 19, p. 1 (ink pen); p. 447A (stamp), dwelling 6, family 6, D.C. Powel age 9/12; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : viewed, downloaded, printed 26 December 2015); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T9, roll 1295.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

A tangled web of 4 blended families

Blended families are like a tangled spider’s web. The web consists of marriages, children, spousal deaths or divorce, remarriages, more children, another spousal death (or divorce) and marriage to a spouse with children from a former marriage. Suddenly, you are tracking four or more families.  Names and dates blur. My web includes two families that eventually became two (2) blended families (total of four families) and 17 children. This post outlines the families and their relationships.

As every genealogist knows, you do not always find records in chronological order. Bits and pieces emerge at various times during your search. You put these bits and pieces together into a timeline of events. The families in this web are:

  • Family #1:  James Thomas Lafayette Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah A. C. Daniel.  3 children.
  • Family #2/ Blended family #1:  James Thomas Lafayette Powell and his 2nd wife, Katherine Deborah Brown. My husband’s paternal great-great grandparents.  5 children.
  • Family #3:  Elias Barker and his 1st wife, Launa Barber.  6 children.
  • Family #4 / Blended family #2:  Elias Barker, 2nd husband of Katherine Deborah Brown Powell. 3 children.

I found documents at various times. Retrieval dates indicate the sporadic nature of my research on these families. I offer this chronology to show the back and forth nature of genealogical research.   

2011. Document #1:  Death certificate for Katherine Deborah Ellerbee [1](wife of James Walter Ellerbee), my husband’s paternal great-grandmother. Parents listed as James Thomas Lafayette Powell and Katherine Deborah Barker.   

2012. Document #2: (I didn’t realize its significance until later). Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension, filed in 1932.[2]  “Mrs. Catherine Barker. . . widow of J. T. L. Powell. . . . James Thomas Lafayette Powell. . . . remarried to E. Barker, Sept. 1st, 1892, who died Aug. 20th, 1900.”  Conclusion:  Barker was surname of Catherine’s 2nd husband.  What was her maiden name?

Dec 2015. Document #3:  1880 census for J.T. L. Powel, age 45, and wife, Catherine, age 20.[3] Children:  Alvey Powel, son, age 14;  J.M. Powel, son, age 12; Peter Powel, son, age 9; D.C. Powel, daughter, age 9 months.  Analysis:  Alvey, J.M. and Peter could not be Catherine’s children.  D.C. Powel Is probably Katherine Deborah Powell Ellerbee, born 1879 per her death certificate.

2016. Document #4:   Death certificate for “Mrs. Catherine Barker”.[4] Parents listed as “R.L. Brown” and “Marguerite Puckett”.   Conclusion:  Catherine’s maiden name was Brown, not Barker.

2016. Back to Document #2:  “I was married to him [J.T.L. Powell] on the 22nd day of April, A.D. 1877, in the county of Cherokee, in the state of Texas.” Confirms marriage date for Catherine and JTL Powell.

2016. Document #5:  (recorded as “tentative”): 1900 U.S. Census for Elide Booker, age 46, and wife, Catherine Booker, age 41, with 8 children [5]—Isaac, age 15;  Milton, age 13; Cora, age 11, Katie L, age 8; Bertie R., age 6; Ernest E., age 4; Alpha M. age 1; and stepdaughter, Jessie, age 11.  Analysis: Catherine & Elide married September 1892. Isaac, Milton, Cora are certainly not hers; Katie could be hers but could also be daughter of Elias and his 1st wife.  Bertie R., Ernest and Alpha are certainly children of ‘Elide’ and Catherine. Catherine listed as mother of 8 children, 7 living.  Who are Jessie’s parents? 2019:  Elide Booker identified as Elias Barker.

March 2017. Document #6: [6] 1870 census for J.T. L. Powell, age 35, and Dan A.C. Powell, female, age 32.  Presumed children:  Alonzo Powell, age 4; Jas M, age 2.  Analysis:  “Dan A.C. Powell, age 32” is probably James Powell’s 1st wife.  What is her first name and maiden name?

March 2017. Document #7.   Marriage certificate for James T.L. Powell and Deborah A.C. Daniel, married 1857. [7] Analysis: Name of James T.L. Powell’s 1st wife was Deborah A.C. Daniel.  Consistent with 1870 census. Confirms Deborah as James’ 1st wife.

October 2019.  Documents # 8 and 9.  Marriage record for Elias Barker and Launa Barber, 1874. [8] Find A Grave memorial number 79870105 for Euna Barker, “mother”, death date 1892. [9] Analysis: Confirms Elias’ first marriage and his first wife’s death in 1892.

October 2019.  Document #9.  1880 census for Elias & Launa Barker with one child, Tempe, age 3 months. [10] Analysis: Elias and Launa were married with one child in June 1880.


FAMILY SYNOPSIS:

Family #1:  James T.L. Powell married Deborah A.C. Daniel in 1857 at Sumter county, Georgia. James and Deborah had 3 children- Alonzo, James M. and Peter (born 1872).  Deborah presumably died in Texas between 1872 and 1877.

Family #2/ Blended family #1:  James T. L. Powell married Catherine Deborah Brown in April, 1877 at Cherokee county, Texas. They had at least 5 children – Katherine, William, Jessie and two undiscovered.  James T. L. Powell died in 1890 leaving his wife, Catherine, a widow with 4 or 5 children.  The older children from James’ 1st marriage apparently married before their father’s death.  

Family #3:  Elias Barker married Launa Barber in 1874 at Milam county, Texas. Records show 6 children.  Launa died in 1892, possibly after birth of youngest child, Katie, in February 1892. 

Family #4/ Blended family #2:  Elias Barker remarried in September 1892 at Cherokee county, Texas, to Mrs. Catherine Powell, widow of James T.L. Powell.  Elias died in August 1900, leaving Catherine again a widow. Elias and Catherine had three children – Reba ‘Bertie’, Ernest and Alpha.  Four of Elias’ children from his first marriage – Isaac, Milton, Cora and Katie- were still at home.

SUMMARY:

I found these records over an 8-year period.  Some records were duplicated in my files.  Current analysis of the combined documents revealed previously overlooked information. I didn’t fully identify gaps until this review.

Next steps for me:   Review all documents again. Search for additional documents and information about each family. Report findings as blog posts focusing on one family per post.

REFLECTION:

Another task for Genealogy Do-Over.  Filling out the research logs for James Thomas Lafayette Powell and his 2nd wife, Catherine Brown (my husband’s great-great grandparents) showed me that more than one family was involved.  I completed research logs for James and both of his wives.  I started Research logs for Elias Barker and his 1st wife.  Research logs for the 17 children?  One done for my husband’s great-grandmother, Katherine Deborah Powell Ellerbee.  Others are on my to-do list with priorities to be assigned.  I am on a different path than when I started.

What I learned/ recalled:   Blended families are not a unique phenomenon to the late 20th century.  1900 and 1910 censuses list number of children born and number living for women.

What helped: Access to online databases. Created ‘Blended family pedigree chart’.  Printed records in files.

What didn’t help: Incomplete paper files and research logs.

To-Do: Search census records for Catherine Brown Powell Barker- 1910 through 1940; add to her research log — DONE. Create & complete research logs for Deborah A.C. Daniel, Elias Barker.  Defer research on other children of these families. Confirm birth, marriage, death dates for Catherine’s known 6 children.  Search for information about her other children (2 or 3 as indicated by 1900 & 1910 census).  

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019


SOURCES:

[1] Cherokee county, Texas, , certificate no. 36955, Katherine Deborah Ellerbee, 9 July 1959; digital images, Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com    : viewed, printed, downloaded 4 October 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Austin, Texas.

[2] “Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension”, 8 February, 1932, Catherine Barker, widow’s pension application no. 50567,service of James Thomas Lafayette Powell (lieutenant, Co. C, 25th Regiment Georgia Infantry, Civil War); “U.S. Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958,”   Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed,downloaded, printed 29 Nov 2012)  citing Texas, Confederate Pension Applications,1899-1975, Vol. 1-646 & 1-283, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

[3] 1880 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct no. 8, enumeration district (ED) 19, p. 1 (ink pen); p. 447A (stamp), dwelling 6, family 6, D.C. Powel age 9/12; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com    : viewed, downloaded, printed 26 December 2015); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T9, roll 1295..

[4] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com      : accessed & downloaded 9 November 2017); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982”, Austin, Texas.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 0030, p. 1B (ink pen) & p. 2A, dwelling 16, family 16, Catherine Booker [Barker]; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 9 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T 623, Roll 1619.

[6] 1870 U.S. Census, Calhoun County, Georgia, population schedule, Militia District 626, p. 55 (ink pen, p. 585 (stamp), dwelling 510, family 486, Jas T L Powell; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded. printed 9 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_138.

[7] “Sumter County, Georgia, Marriage Books, Sumter County Ordinary Court, 1850-1857,”p.218, no. 24, James T.L. Powell, Deborah A.C. Daniel, 28 June 1857; digital images, University System of Georgia, Georgia Archives (http://vault.georgiaarchives.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/countyfilm/id/289112/rec/3   : accessed,downloaded, printed 24 March 2017); Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

[8] “Texas, County Marriage Records, 1817-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 10 October 2019), entry for Elias Barker and Launa Barker; citing “Marriage Records, Texas Marriages,” Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com   : viewed & printed 10 October 2019), memorial page for Euna Barker, Find A Grave Memorial # 79870105, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by seemore, photograph by Deb.

[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Lee county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 094, p. 79A (stamp); p. 49 (ink pen), dwelling 316, family 319, Elias Barker age 26; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 10 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 1316.

Of laptops and laundry: A light-hearted look at things that interfere with genealogy

Do you remember this poem? I embraced this idea when the boys were small. Now, those babies are grown and out on their own. I retired from work outside of the home in 2016. Genealogy is now my 40+ hours per week job although my husband sometimes says it’s more of an obsession. I need to remember that genealogy DOES keep! Especially, if you have thorough, complete records of your efforts. 

My 10-year-old laptop died a few weeks ago. That event certainly interfered with my genealogy work.   In January 2017, I accepted the reality of disorganized paper and digital genealogy files. I resolved to correct the situation. That’s when I discovered Thomas MacAntee’s Genealogy Do-Over program. [1]  One step is “securing research data.” I followed directions and began routine backups.  Daily data and image backups on the cloud and weekly backups to an external hard drive. Last year, I began monthly backups of all laptop files (not just the genealogy files) to the external hard drive.  These activities resulted in minimum loss of data when my laptop died.

I knew that the laptop’s days were numbered. Laptop’s response time gradually slowed.  My son offered to build a desktop computer for me. We planned for the new computer to be functional before laptop died. Oh, well!  Only one loss found so far – bookmarks to websites. Remedies:  Sync bookmarks with another computer. Periodically save bookmarks to HTML file; store file on Cloud, flash drive and/or  external hard drive.  

We bought a Surface Pro notebook computer in 2017. The purpose was twofold:  (1) Don’t take laptop with personal information on a genealogy field trip.  (2) Take pictures with notebook rather than a camera. Pictures didn’t need to be downloaded from camera to computer.  My husband became an excellent photographer of gravestones! Although there was a lot of perceived ‘junk’ on old laptop, we decided to use the Surface notebook minimally. The Surface became my lifeline while son built desktop computer.  Desktop is now up and running!

Which brings me to another thing that interferes with genealogy – laundry (and other housework).  There are always 2-3 loads of laundry to be done.  Buzzers on washer and dryer alert me to step away from the genealogy work (usually on the computer) for a few minutes. Actually, not such a bad thing! Cleaning house has never been one of my favorite jobs. I describe myself as a ‘laissez-faire’ housekeeper—the house doesn’t have to be completely dust-free and spotless clean.  I live by this motto:  “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.”  Everything does get cleaned, just not every day!

And, there is the issue of food! My family is always appreciative when I cook. Sometimes, I resort to my “meal prepared and on the table in 30-45 minutes” mode that was common when I worked outside of the home. One advantage of retirement is that I can now prepare those ‘’week-end only when I have lots of time” meals on a weekday. Of course, there are still the “what do you want from take-out” days and “let’s get a pizza” days.  Grocery shopping and meal prep also mean that I put the genealogy aside for various time periods.

Genealogy does keep! But only if you have complete, thorough records of the data and your analysis. Document everything you do, then save it in more than one way.

Try this mantra:  

      Records searched and dutifully filed. 
      Data reviewed and analysis writ down.    
      Media saved, backup plan in effect, files are in order.  
      More Genealogy will keep till tomorrow. 
     (Unless, of course, you just found that elusive person or item 
       that answers one question but generates more!)  

Reflection:

I had to get out of serious genealogy work for a bit. I have been getting bogged down with small details. The elusive ancestors from the early 1800s and late 1700s remain elusive. Oh, I have names, dates and places.  Questions remain:

  • Who is Thomas Ellerby’s father? Thomas bought land in North Carolina in 1724.  Candidates include Thomas, John, William and Edward Ellerby, all of whom were in Virginia circa 1683-1690.     
  • What is relationship between Thomas Ellerby, who moved from Virginia to South Carolina about 1737 and John Ellerby, who bought land in North Carolina in 1738? Both men owned property near the Pee Dee River which runs in both North and South Carolina.
  • John Ellerby died 1751 in Anson county, North Carolina. Is he ancestor of our John Ellerbee, born 1808 in Georgia and died 1884 in Florida?

The amount of work needed for do-over of Ellerbee family tree is overwhelming. Other projects beg for my attention. Solution? One project at a time. Work on each project at least once a week.

Temporarily put aside further review and searches for those early Ellerby/ Ellerbe/  Ellerbee ancestors.  I reviewed digital and paper files for John E. Ellerbee and his two wives, completed research logs and re-wrote citations to meet standards.  The same process is complete for four generations of Ellerbee men who are direct descendants of John E. Ellerbee plus 13 other persons. Scattered re-written source citations appear throughout my RootsMagic tree. Proposed work plan:

  • Wives of Ellerbee men and their direct ancestors.
  • Siblings of Ellerbee direct ancestors.
  • Simmons direct ancestors (father-in-law’s mother’s family).
  • Wives of Simmons men and their direct ancestors.
  • Siblings of Simmons direct ancestors.

Continue applying lessons learned in Genealogy Do-Over.


[1] Thomas MacAntee,  Genealogy Do-Over (https://genealogydoover.com/are-your-ready-for-the-genealogy-do-over/    :  accessed 7 October 2019).

John E. Ellerbee’s wealth

How is wealth measured? Today, we say a person is wealthy because of their high salary and/or the value of their business and other investments.  Home and land ownership reflects a person’s financial status. Our ancestors measured wealth by the amount of land owned and the value of crops and livestock. Sadly, in the antebellum south, wealth was also measured by the number of slaves owned.  How wealthy was John E. Ellerbee, my husband’s ancestor? This post, fourth in my series about John E. Ellerbee, addresses that question.

SOURCE: Blake Harris, powerpoint “The Pre-Civil War South”. Slide Share ( https://www.slideshare.net/BlakeHarris2/the-pre-civil-war-south-ppt : accessed 21 September 2019).

John E. Ellerbee, born about 1808 in Burke county, Georgia, married at least two times and fathered at least 16  children.  The family consistently moved southwest through Georgia to Florida from 1830 through 1880.  I described their migration pattern in my last two posts. 

A typewritten manuscript[1]  was privately published before the printed Ellerbe family history. [2]  In that manuscript, Morris “Buck” Ellerbee commented on John’s south-westerly moves:

South-western Georgia was the West of the day and that is where
new and cheap land was to be found. . . and it appears that John 
Ellerbee kept moving Westward as new lands became available. . . .
 [and] (1) the family is larger, and (2) the family fortune is larger. 
The 1860 census lists John Ellerbee’s property as follows: 
real estate valued at $3000; and personal property valued
at $4500. Three thousand dollars of “cheap land” could have 
been considerable acres. And since his personal property 
was surely made up largely of mules and slaves. . . there must 
have been quite a number of them. . . . John Ellerbee
was considered a wealthy man before the Civil War. [3]

In 1850, the “larger family” consisted of nine people (John, Martha, six children[4] and one slave[5]).  His real estate was valued at $2500. Older children left home between 1850 and 1860 and new children were born. The 1860 population schedule[6] shows John and Martha with 10 children plus two slaves. [7]  John’s real estate value increased to $4500 and personal property increased to  $3000.  John’s wealth certainly included more than “mules and slaves”.  

How many acres of land did John own?  Turn now to the Agricultural Schedules of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Agricultural schedules of 1850, 1860, and 1870 provide the following information for each farm: name of owner or manager, number of improved and unimproved acres, and the cash value of the farm, farming machinery, livestock, animals slaughtered during the past year, and “homemade manufactures.” The schedules also indicate the number of horses, mules, “milch cows,” working oxen, other cattle, sheep, and swine owned by the farmer. The amount of oats, rice, tobacco, cotton, wool, peas and beans, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat, orchard products, wine, butter, cheese, hay, clover seed, other grass seeds, hops, hemp, flax, flaxseed, silk cocoons, maple sugar, cane sugar, molasses, and beeswax and honey produced during the preceding year is also noted. The 1880 schedules provide additional details, such as the amount of acreage used for each kind of crop, the number of poultry, and the number of eggs produced.

Exclusions–Not every farm was included in these schedules. In 1850, for example, small farms that produced less than $100 worth of products annually were not included. By 1870, farms of less than three acres or which produced less than $500 worth of products were not included.

SOURCE: https://www.archives.gov/research/census/nonpopulation/#ag

Following the Civil War and the family’s move to Florida, John’s wealth diminished.   Real estate value fell to $240 and personal estate value fell to $300 in 1870. The family size remained at 12 (John, Martha and 10 children).  [10]  His small holdings would not be included in the 1870 Agricultural schedule.

Family tradition says that John owned a small orange grove in Hillsborough county, Florida, where the family lived in 1880. In 1883, John Ellerbee bought 150 acres “east of Tallahassee Meridian in Florida.” [11] John’s personal property, sold after his death, included 1 yoke of oxen (sold to J. A. D. Branch for $30.00 and one stock of hogs (sold to J.B. McPherson for $2.50). [12]  Total for all items sold at auction was $51.80. John’s son, W. M. Ellerbee, bought John’s 160 acres for $445 in 1887. Total value of John’s estate= $496.80.

Summary:

How wealthy was John E. Ellerbee? In pre-Civil War Georgia, John doubled his land ownership within one decade. Overall monetary value of the land and livestock remained static ($4150 in 1850 and $3995 in 1860). Crop production almost doubled during the same period (665 bushels in 1850 to 1150 bushels in 1860).  His 500 acres may seem paltry compared to thousands of acres on some plantations but the land provided enough to take care of his family with produce left to sell. The abrupt decline in their financial status must have been devastating.  I haven’t found proof of the orange grove purchase. I believe that John kept trying to improve his lot.

For more information:

REFLECTION:

This post concludes the 4-part series about John E. Ellerbee. When I started the first post, I didn’t realize that there was so much to his story. I confirmed sources cited by others and added details. I responded emotionally to several items, specifically the lumping together of “mules and slaves” as a measure of wealth and John’s acquisition of Indian cession land in Georgia. Although I can’t absolutely prove that John bought Indian land, he lived in the right place at the right time for that to occur.

What I learned:   Details found in agricultural schedules.

What helped:  Internet access to multiple records, books, manuscripts and articles. Books found in local library about Creek and Cherokee Indians in Georgia before their removal to Oklahoma. Creating research log for John E. Ellerbee.

What didn’t help:  Having bronchitis for 2 weeks and not feeling like working on genealogy.  Getting sidetracked as I search for John’s parents.  

To-do:  Compile the 4 blog posts into one article. Share with relatives. Consider submitting for publication to Historical or Genealogical society journal in Georgia.  Resume work on scrapbook for another relative.


SOURCES:

[1] LRB typewritten manuscript; digitized by Internet Archive 2018. Ronald W. Ellerbe & Morris B. Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee. (privately printed, 1963). Digital copy, The  Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/lrbellerbyellerb00elle  : accessed and printed, 27 August 2019). Sections ‘The Ellerbee’s of early Georgia’ and ‘John Ellerbee (1808-1885)’ probably written by Morris B. (Buck) Ellerbee, a descendant of John.  Source citations minimal but records can be found. 

[2] Ronald William Ellerbe, The Ellerbe Family History (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1986), p. 14-41.

[3] Ellerbe & Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee, 31-32.

[4] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49B (ink pen), dwelling 1111, family 141, John E. Ellerbee.

[5] 1850 U.S. Census, Baker county, Georgia, slave schedule, District 3, no page number, John Ellerbee, owner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : printed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M432.

[6] 1860 population census. 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, slave schedule, 3rd District, p. 265 (stamp), John Elerbee, owner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : printed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M653

[7] 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, slave schedule, 3rd district, p. 265 (stamp); p. 27 (ink pen), John E. Ellerbee; NARA microfilm publication M653.

[8] 1850 U.S. Census, Baker county, Georgia, agriculture schedule, 3rd District, p. 39, John Ellerbee; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com    : accessed & printed, 7 September 2019); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T1137, roll 1.

[9] 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, agriculture schedule, 3rd District, no page number, John Elerba [Ellerbee]; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed & printed, 7 September 2019); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T1137, roll 4.

[10] 1870 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, Marianna, p. 54 (ink pen), dwelling 586, family 587, John Ellerbee age 63; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded, printed 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_130.

[11] Certificate of the Register of Land to John Ellerbee; United States Bureau of Land Management “U.S. General Land Office Records, 1716 – 2015,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, printed, downloaded 6 September 2019); citing Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes, Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007.

[12] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & printed 5 May 2019), entry for John Ellerbee; citing “Florida, Willas and Probate Records, 1810-1914” [database online], Florida County, District and Probate Courts; administrator: W.M. Ellerbee.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019