Monday, March 17, 2014

52 Ancestors: #10 Eliza Hopkins

Eliza Hopkins is often confused in online trees with her sister—Elizabeth. Yes, it may be a little unusual for parents to name one daughter Elizabeth and another Eliza, but Stephen Hopkins and Rachel McFarland did that. 

Eliza married and moved away from the family while Elizabeth, often called Betsey, did not marry and lived with her parents in Tennessee and Kentucky. Eliza was the mother of William Columbus and James Arton Hopkins. Betsey was the mother of Stephen Henry and George C. Hopkins. 

Eliza was born on 22 Feb 1837 in Claiborne County, Tennessee. In 1844, the Mulberry Gap area where the Hopkins family lived became Hancock County. Eliza's two sons, whose paternity is in question, were born there. Family stories indicate Stephen Wolfenbarger was their father, and the rest of that story is already covered in this post about Jim.

Eliza and the boys moved to Harlan County, Kentucky with her parents and most of her siblings about 1864. She married Ephram Simpson in Harlan on 11 Oct 1866. They soon moved to Indiana leaving Eliza's young sons behind with her parents.  


In 1870, Eliza and Ephram lived in Highland Township, Greene County, Indiana. Ephram worked as a farm laborer, and his 18-year-old brother, Hiram, lived with them. They were still in Greene County in 1880 but in Back Creek Township where Ephram was a farmer. 

By 1900, Eliza and Ephram moved to Epps, Butler County, Missouri. Vannie Radsdale, a 17-year-old boy whose relationship was listed as adopted, lived with them at that time. He was born in Arkansas, and Vannie was a nickname for Van Buren. 

Adopting a child seems like an odd action for a woman who left her own sons with her parents when they were both under 10 years old. Maybe she grew to regret that decision. Although his name was listed as Radsdale in the 1900 census, Van went by Simpson the rest of his life. 

Eliza's son Jim told of visiting his mother in Indiana as a young man. He said that Ephram did not make him feel welcome so he returned to Harlan County. There is no evidence that her son Lum ever saw her again after she left Harlan when he was a child. 

The portrait above of Eliza belonged to my grandfather (Jim's son). One of Lum's daughters had the photo on the right. It is unclear how either of them came to have these pictures. Eliza was in her late 20s/early 30s when she left Harlan County. It's possible the portrait was made before that but she appears older. The photo was definitely made much later in life, and the identities of the others in it are unknown. 

Eliza died on 16 Jan 1912 in Epps. She was buried in Sparkman Cemetery without a marker. At some time after her death, Ephram returned to Kentucky. He died in Lincoln County on 30 Sep 1923 and was buried in Wilmoths Chapel Cemetery. 



Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small

Eliza was my 2nd great-grandmother through her son, James Arton Hopkins.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #9 Charlotte T. Jackson

Charlotte's birth and death dates are both in question. Her headstone shows she was born 15 Nov 1818 and died 26 Sep 1892; a family Bible owned by her grandson, William Larkin Lanier, says she was born 3 Nov 1818 and died 20 Oct 1892.

Whenever Charlotte T. Jackson was born, it was likely in Jasper County, Georgia. She was the first of seven children born to Samuel W. Jackson and Lavinia Malone who both came from North Carolina. The family was in Jasper County in 1820 but had moved west to Meriwether County by 1830.

Charlotte is yet another ancestor whose story I don't really know. The only records I've located for her are marriage and census.

Charlotte married William Washington Lanier in Meriwether County on 22 Oct 1835. William was the son of James Lanier and Polly Smith. The Laniers also lived in Jasper County in 1820 and Meriwether County in 1830.

Charlotte and William left Meriwether County with her parents. They lived in Randolph County, Alabama in 1840 while her parents were settled in neighboring Heard County, Georgia. Their household composition is a bit confusing. The two males under five years old were their sons, James Jackson and Jefferson F. The two young females, one 5–10 and the other 10–15, are unknown. It's possible they were children who died young but they aren't among the 11 children listed in their grandson's Bible.

If the family could be found in the 1850 census, there might be a clue about these unknown girls but that hasn't happened. By 1860, they lived in the Rock Mills community in Randolph County, Alabama which is about three miles from the Heard County, Georgia line. James and Jefferson, both in their twenties, were still with Charlotte and William along with William W., Joseph Smith, Mary E., Sarah Ann, Melissa Caroline, Susan Charlotte and France Elizabeth. Two years later George David, the youngest of Charlotte and William's children, was born.

Charlotte and William later moved one county south to Chambers County, Alabama, living in Fredonia and Hickory Flat.

Charlotte was buried in a small cemetery in the Fredonia area next to William who also died in 1892. Daughter Mary and son James are buried on either side of them. Just like her birth and death dates, the name of that cemetery is in question.

A Survey of Cemeteries in Chambers County, Alabama by Margaret Parker Milford and Eleanor Davis Scott (published in 1983) calls it the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery. That was probably the original name but the church is no longer at that location. The "new" New Hope Baptist Church is less than a mile down the road and includes a "new" cemetery at that location. Google Maps shows Charlotte's cemetery as Swint-Hammock Cemetery. The cemetery did not have a sign when I visited in 2010.


Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small. 


Charlotte was my 2nd great-grandmother through her son, Joseph Smith Lanier.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

52 Ancestors: #8 John Petty

Whitfield County, Georgia Probate Clerk's Office
Several days ago I came across a photo attached to John Petty in an Ancestry.com tree. Is it my 3rd great-grandfather who died before 1900? I messaged the owner. I'm still impatiently waiting for a response. (Do you know how much I wanted to use that picture in this post?)

While I'm waiting, it seems like good time to review what I know about John Petty. The short answer is not much, despite researching on-site in three counties where he lived and another where he may have lived.

John Petty had ten children. That implies he was married. At the very least, each of those children had a mother. Was the same woman the mother of all ten children? Probably? Maybe? Does anyone know?

John lived in McMinn County, Tennessee in 1840. His household composition was 1 male 5–10, 1 male 20–30, 2 females under 5, 2 females 5–10, and 1 female 20–30. John was the adult male. His "alleged" wife was probably the adult female. The five children were probably John R. (born abt 1835), Charlotte (born Dec 1830), Caroline (born bet. 1830–1840), Martha (born abt. 1839) and an unknown daughter (who is said to have married a Milsapp).

The family is no where to be found in the 1850 census. Not in McMinn or adjacent Bradley County. Not in nearby Murray or Whitfield Counties in Georgia. (Those are the counties I've gone through page by page). And not anywhere else according to many census searches.

There is an old Petty family story (not from my family, no one in my family knew anything about John Petty—not even his name) that John's wife and Charlotte's husband, John Hambright, drowned in a flood around 1850. According to this story, the family relocated to Murray County, Georgia for a short time after their deaths. Did that happen? I don't know. Most anything is possible.

John lived in Charleston in Bradley County by 1860 with children Martha, Rash, James, Joseph, Angeline (Ann) and Mary. The children's ages ranged from twenty-one to nine. If the nine-year-old truly was nine, then her mother didn't die before 1850. Whatever happened to the children's mother(s), no other female was living with them in 1860. Caroline and the unknown daughter who married a Milsapp haven't been located in that census.

Charlotte and John R. both lived in the McMinn County community of Calhoun in 1860. Charleston and Calhoun are separated only by the Hiwassee River that serves as the border between Bradley and McMinn Counties. Charlotte Hambright had four children and no husband in the household. The youngest child was four years old so her father didn't die before 1850. Other information implies John Hambright was not that child's father. Her next youngest was nine.

John's four sons all joined Company I of the 43rd Tennessee Infantry (Confederate) at Charleston. Rash joined on 1 Dec 1862. The other three joined a year earlier on 13 Nov 1861. After being captured and released at Vicksburg, Mississippi all except John R. joined the 10th Union Cavalry.

John was in Bradley County in 1870 but possibly not in the same location as his Post Office was Cleveland rather than Charleston. Tabitha Petty (age 57, keeping house) lived with him along with ten-year-old Sarah Cassell. Was Tabitha John's wife? Perhaps. But if a marriage record exists, I haven't found it. Was she the mother of any of his children? It seems unlikely unless her absence in the 1860 census was a mistake. Who was Sarah? No clue except that John's granddaughter, Rebecca Hambright, later married Robert Castle (Cassell?).

In 1880, John was in Whitfield County, Georgia living with daughters Martha and Ann. Ann's husband, Wiley Long, and their four children were also in the household but Martha's husband, John W. Martin, had died in 1879. Martha and Ann both married in Whitfield County: Martha in 1867, Ann in 1868.

John married Elizabeth Inman, widow of William Inman, on 15 Feb 1881 in Whitfield County. Based on census records, John was born about 1809 in either Tennessee or North Carolina. He likely died before 1900.

Daughters Charlotte, Martha, and Ann remained near John but his other children scattered to Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas and Texas. A couple later returned to the area where they grew-up.

Rash married Sarah Ann Foster (probably not her maiden name) in 1865 in Bradley County and they settled in Blount County, Tennessee. James married Sarah Longwith there that same year. They stayed in Bradley County for several years before moving to Washington County, Arkansas.

John R. married Margaret E. Thomas in Whitfield County in 1857. From McMinn County, they moved to Whitfield County before relocating to Logan County, Kentucky and then to nearby Hopkins County. Joseph also went to Logan County—likely with John R. Once there, he married Margaret's sister, Nancy, in 1869. John R. returned to Whitfield County around the time of Margaret's death in 1876 and married Mary C. Bohannan in 1878. Joseph and Nancy eventually left Logan County for Texas—Lamar and Bowie Counties.

After marrying John Cooper in Webster County, Kentucky, in 1869, Mary and her family lived in Johnson County, Illinois. They later moved near her sisters in Whitfield County. Caroline and her husband, Lemuel Young, gave consent for Mary to marry in Webster County, Kentucky. No other records for Caroline have been found. The unknown daughter who may have married a Milsapp remains unknown.


Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small. 


John was my 3rd great-grandfather through his son, John R. Petty.