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I found copies of the letters of administration and a better copy of the order of the Clark County Probate Court at the Arkansas History Commission. (John Callaway was my 4th great-grandfather.)

The documents below are recorded at pages 36, 37, 160, 172 and 173 of Probate Book A of the Territory of Arkansas.

Where something is illegible, I'll use question marks. I've retained the same spelling as in the original documents.

Click on the images to make them appear larger.


Page 36

United States of America.)Clark County
Territory of Arkansas.......) Court in Vacation
County of Clark.............) January 6th AD 1835

To all whom these presents shall come greeting
Whereas John Callaway as It is said hath late died
intestate having whilst living and at the time of
his Death goods and Chattels rights and credits
within said Territory wherefore by the laws of this
Territory the granting administration, and also
the auditing and finally Settling the accounts of
the administration of the estate of the said John
Callaway unto us doth appertain, Wherefore
there is hereby granted unto Amy Callaway
widow and relict of the said John Callaway deceased
and John S T Callaway ample and complete
power to take into their charge and possession by
proper and legal means all and singular the
goods and Chattels rights and credits which did
appertain unto the said John Callaway deceased
at the time of his death and the law directs and
the same to dispose of according to Law and to
make Settlement of the administration at the


Page 37
times and in the manner prescribed by law.
In testimony where of I have hereunto set
my hand as Clerk and affixed the Seal
of Office this 6th day of January AD 1835
and of the Independence of the United
States of America the 59th

Isaac Ward Clerk

Territory of Arkansas..)
.......................) SS
County of Clark........)

I Isaac Ward Clerk of the County court
of the County aforesaid and ex officio recorder
therefor do hereby Certify that the foregoing
letters of administration granted Amy Callaway
and John S T Callaway, on the estate of John
Callaway deceased was this day by me Recorded
in my office before the same was delivered to
the said aministrators - Witness my hand
as Clerk aforesaid this 6th day of January 1835

Isaac Ward Clerk &
Ex officio recorder


Page 160
Territory of Arkansas; County of Clark
Clark County Court in vacation
January 6th AD 1835

This day came Amy Callaway and John S
T Callaway in their own proper persons
to my office and on their motion letters of
Administration is granted them on the estate
of John Callaway deceased upon their
entering into Bond with two or more good and suff-
icient securities conditioned as the Law directs
in the ?? sum of eight thousand dollars
which was done accordingly & thereupon took
the Oath prescribed by law as administrators
of the estate of John Callaway deceased, and on
motion of John S T Callaway, administrator
as aforesaid I do hereby appoint David Mobley
Archibald Huddleston and Adam Stroud
appraisers to appraise the slaves and other
personal estate of the said John Callaway
deceased & such part thereof as may be pro-
duced to them by the said administrators.

Isaac Ward Clk


Page 172
Appraised Bill of Property of the estate of
John Callaway Deceased, CO Adam Stroud
Archibald Huddleston and David Mobley appraisers
of the estate of John Callaway Deceased do appraise
the property as follows to Viz

1 negro woman named Lal............350.00
1 negro Boy Tim....................500.00
1 named Bill.......................400.00
1 Girl named Minnie................300.00
1 Boy named Morel..................300.00
1 Do named Harrison................200.00
1 named Bob........................175.00
1 named Ped........................150.00
1 named Buck........................87.50
1 named Rosie & child..............550.00
1 Clock.............................20.00
1 Buro..............................30.00
1 Dining Table.......................4.00
1 Bed and furniture.................20.00
1 Saddle.............................2.00
1 Bed and Bedstead..................15.00
1 Bed and Bedstead..................30.00
1 Cupboard..........................25.00
1 fall leaf table...................10.00
11 chairs............................5.50
1 Rifle gun.........................15.00
1 Bed and Bedstead..................15.00
1 Yoke of oxen......................30.00
7 ?? of Pot Mettle..................13.50
1 Horse Mill.......................125.00
1 Lot of Hogs.......................20.00
1 Bay Mare Jinny....................20.00
1 Mare Mariah.......................30.00
1 Dunn Mare.........................25.00
A Sorrel Horse......................30.00
1 Bay Horse Henry...................15.00
1 Bay Horse Archy...................25.00
1 Dunn Colt.........................15.00
1 Muly Cow and Calf.................80.00


Page 173

2 Cows and Calfs....................15.00
Amount Brought Over...............3825.50
3 head of young cattle..............10.00
20 head of geese.....................7.50
7 yoke of oxen......................30.00
1 Loom...............................4.00
1 lot of Ploughs.....................7.00
2 Balls..............................1.00
1 ?? of iron.........................5.00
1 ax and hoc.........................2.00
1 hand saw...........................2.00
1 Dima John..........................1.50
2 Horse Collars......................2.00
2 Balls..............................2.00
1 act on ???........................15.00
1 Do on John F??....................21.00
1 note on Green Davis...............13.00
1 Plough.............................4.00

Archibald Huddleston...)
David Mobley...........)Appraisers
A Stroud...............)

Sworn and subscribed to before this 2nd day
of March AD 1835

? H Rutherford

Territory of Arkansas..)
.......................) SS
County of Clark........)

I James I Ward Clerk of the Circuit
Court of said County do hereby certify that the
foregoing Inventory and appraisement of the
Estate of John Callaway deceased are truly and
completely recorded from this original now on file
in my office. Witness my hand as Clerk of aforesaid
This 9th day of May 1835.

Isaac Ward Clerk

A $3,900 personal property valuation in 1835 would be worth $98,000 in 2009. Not exactly chump change.

Of course, it bugs the hell out of me that the bulk of his "personal property" was other human beings.

Trying to keep it in context...
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Comparing church and military records for the Dunns, Callaways and Williamses...

In July 1863, Julia Ann (Wingfield) Callway and her son, Mason, joined Bethel Union Baptist Church in Clark County.

In 1865, Mary Dunn was a member of New Hope Methodist Church in Clark County.
In 1866, Mary and Martha Dunn were members of New Hope Methodist Church. (Lucinda Hitchcock, mother of David Andrew Williams, was also a member, although I didn't find David in the membership list, but it's a fragmented one.)

A M Callaway and D A Williams appeared on a muster roll dated from 31 Oct 1864 through 28 Feb 1865 in the 10th Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, commanded first by Reuben C Reed, and finally by Col. Robert C Newton.

On 8 Sep 1866, Mary Dunn and Allen Mason "Mace" Callaway were married by an itinerant Cumberland Presbyterian minister in Clark County.

In August 1867, Martha Dunn, Mary Callaway and James Dunn joined Bethel Union Baptist Church in Clark County.

On 27 Jun 1869, Martha Dunn and David Andrew Williams were married by a Methodist minister in Clark County.

On 2 Nov 1876, Martha Dunn Williams died of tuberculosis in Clark County.

On 15 Feb 1877, Mace Callaway died - we presume in Clark County.

On 13 Jul 1878, David Andrew Williams and Mary Dunn Callaway were married by Isom Langley, a clergyman, in Clark County.

And all the while, Robert James Dunn was living two farms over...

And my cousin Jason tells me...Capt Nat M Jones and Pvt. L. O. Ross are the ones that signed the proof of service forms for Mary to apply for her Civil War widow's pension.
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Which seems to be known variously as Capt Reuben C Reed's "old company," which was company A. (I have also seen variant spellings of his first name of Rubin and Ruben.)

Below is transcription of an article originally appearing in the Southern Standard, on 2 Apr 1908, and which was re-published by the Clark County Historical Association in its 1998 Journal.

I have been unable to find much information at all on the internet about this company, and Footnote searches for several of the men whose names are included in my family tree reveal no CSA muster roll records for them.

From another CCHA Journal article in the same 1998 publication, I saw a note that the enrolling officer for the regiment was Capt. M Crary, and the unit was comprised of mounted volunteers.

The men of most interest to me in the article below are A M Calloway (sic) and D A Williams.

Tenth Arkansas Regiment of Cavalry
Little Rock, Ark.
March 3, 1908

Editor Southern Standard:
Complying with a wish of some of the members of Capt. Reuben C Reed's old company, which was company "A" of the 10th Arkansas Regiment of Cavalry commanded by Col. Robert C. Newton, said company being raised in Clark County, some of whom are yet alive, I send you for publication the list copied from Muster Roll of October 31st 1864, now on file with General Jonathan Kellogg, Secretary of Historical Society.

The list is well preserved and is written in a good hand writing very plain and is as follows:
Reuben C. Reed, Capt.; N.M. Jones, 1st Lieut; James T. Sloan, 2nd Lieut.; W.R. Harris, 3rd Lieut.; A.G. Hearn, 1st Serg't.; K.R. Jones, 2nd Serg't.; Sterling Elder, 3rd Serg't.; W.F. Holder, 4th Serg't.; A.E. Rambo, 5th Serg't.; J.B. Smith, 1st Corp.; E.O. Rogers, 2nd Corp.; James Kellogg, 3rd Corp.; H.T. Harris, 4th Corp.

Bates, H. M.; Logan, John C.; Berry, Levi A.; Logan, T.J.; Bethea, J.B.; Lawley, John; Bettis, Lauson; Lawley, William; Billingsley, C.C.; Mackey, J.W.; Brown, E. L.; Marsh, H.C.; Brown, V.O.; May, S.B.; Buck, James; Moon, H.D.; Calloway, A.M.; Osborn, G.C.; Carlee, John Z.; Pride, T.J.; Crump, W.H.; Ross, L.O.; Davis, John H.; Ross, W.D.; Drummins, Thomas; Ross, W.P.; Fite, A.J.; Rudisill, R.M.; Fite, John D.; Russell, A.J.; Gibson, John S.; Sloan, Donald; Gates, W.W.; Sloan, W.J.; Harris, W.K.; Stafford, J.W.; Hart, G.W.; Stafford, T.J.; Harvey, W.W.; Stevenson, J.T.; Heard, T.A.; Stoval, John; Holder, T.B.; Stroope, W.S.; Holmes, H.G.L.; Wallace, J.; Huie, R.W.; Watson, John; Hunter, R.W.; West, J.R.; Jones, D.E.; Williams, D.A.; Jordan, Alex; Williams, J.H.; Littlejohn, A. W.; Williams, P.H.; Wingfield, John.

It is probable that some names with "J" as an initial should be an "I" as all are made above the line and for that reason it is immpossable (sic) to distinguish the "I's" from the "J's".

There is interesting data in connection with many names, among which is the record of those who were on a scout with Lieut. Harris to Burton, I will mention them: Lieut. W.R. Harris, E.O. Rogers, E.L. Brown, Thomas Drummins, H.G.L. Holmes, J.C. Logan, G.C. Osburne, T.J. Pride, D.A. Williams, and B.H. Williams.

In noticing more carefully I see that this report comes from October 31st, 1864 to Feb. 28th, 1865. Lieut. Joe Sloan is reported as acting Adjutant of Regiment pro tem since Feb. 19th, 1865. R.W. Huie is reported as "scout as courier to Arkadelphia." Donald Sloan is reported sick at home in Clark Co., Ark. since Dec. 25, 1864. W.J. Sloan is reported sick in hospital in Washington, Ark. Feb. 25, 1865. I might continue this almost indefinitely.

All of the above names are familiar ones in Clark County, some of whom are alive and residents of the county now. Some few of them were from Dallas county. This list of names ought to be placed on record in the clerk's office of each county: when the companies were organized for reference and for presentation, as the state will probably never do anything toward their presentation, judging by the failure of every effort to have it do something on that line, under the administrations of the last eight years.

I am appealed too often to ascertain the company and the regiment to which certain men belonged in order that the wife of some confederate soldier may be placed on the pension roll, or the soldier himself seeks the names of comrades in order to establish his service in the Confederate army. It always affords me pleasure to investigate as far as possible for them, but I am often unable to find anything because of the incompleteness of many company rolls.

Stan C. Harley
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Frankly, I was disappointed with the offerings at Ouachita Baptist University's Special Collections Section.

I did, however, make a few interesting discoveries.

A glance through the 1932 Southern Standard on microfilm did not yield an obituary I was looking for, but it did give up some interesting tidbits of local flavor about my Herrington relatives who lived in the tiny Clark County Arkansas community of DeGray.

I had never really considered it before, but what did you do for fun when you were dirt poor and the Great Depression sucked the life out of just about everything?

You went visiting...and it made the newspaper.

Searching through the conference minutes of the DeGray Baptist Church provided no information at all about where or how my g-g-grandfather, Mace Callaway died, or where he might be buried.

I asked for copies of all 17 pages of membership notes in the New Hope Methodist Church file for the years 1860-1869. There appear to be skips due to missing records, but they will be useful to my Williams cousin, Jason, and to a lesser degree, to me.

And while I was waiting for copies to be made, I scanned through the Clark County Historical Association's Journal index, and stumbled across a CSA Cavalry unit that seems to be unreported in the usual places, with alphabetized lists of troops who served.

Even more interesting is that it appears possible that Mace Callaway and David Andrew Williams may have served in that cavalry unit together, as shown on a muster roll covering the time from 31 Oct 1864 through 28 Feb 1865. (I'll transcribe that as a separate entry later.)

Another of the CCHA's journals provides more information about years in which Bob Dunn was mentioned in the minutes of the Red River Baptist Association.

So the CCHA made $45 off me today. I bought the 1991, 1993, and 1998 Journals.

Cousin Joe and I made an appalling discovery at the Clark County Courthouse.

We were looking for the letters of administration in the estate of one of our many greats grandpappies, John Callaway, who died intestate in 1834 in Clark County. Joe knew that John Callaway's estate was enumerated in an attachment to the letters of administration.

The probate clerk was able to provide us with a copy of the 6 Jan 1835 probate court order appointing John's widow, Amy, and his son, John S T, as co-administrators of the estate (they were, by the way, fined by the court in 1842 for failure to file an annual accounting of the estate - oops), but the clerk said we'd have to go to the books to look for the letters of administration.

So all three of us tromped over to the closet where the books are kept. 1840 was as far back as we could find.

So the clerk asked us if we wanted to take a look through the other books in storage.

In the attic.


Books with documents over 175 years old are IN THE ATTIC. With no climate control.

And not just in the attic...they were just dumped in the attic in hodge-podge, helter skelter fashion...many looking as if they were thrown in there by whomever was assigned the chore of moving them because before they had been IN THE BASEMENT - where they kept getting damp.

Joe and I kept grimacing at each other over the clerk's head as we looked, each of us righting a book here and there.

We did not find the letters of administration of the estate.

I'm hoping that book was rescued by the Arkansas History Commission and filmed.

So I'll be squinting at microfilm there tomorrow.

The journey is good.

And it continues...
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My office is undergoing renovation in stages.

There's a window of opportunity for me to try and fill in some pieces in the Bob, Mary, and Martha Dunn mystery.

It's time for the rubber to meet the road. Next Thursday and Friday, I'm taking leave from the office and going to Hot Spring and Clark counties to try and get some answers. My Callaway cousin, Joe, is going to shepherd me through the Special Collections section of Ouachita Baptist University.

I'm also going to be cold-calling a cousin who lives in Arkadelphia who has never heard of me. I understand he may have some answers - and maybe even some documents and pictures.

I can hardly wait...

You too can create a puzzle out of one of your own family photos by going here.
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William Hemphill Callaway "Big Bill"
His obituary, as printed in the Southern Standard, 10 Feb 1899, page 3, col. 4:
"Callaway, W H, died at his residence Wednesday night at 11 o'clock. He had been in feeble heath for several months. At the time of his death he was the coroner of this county. He was one of the oldest native citizens of the county, being in his 72nd year of age. He was somewhat of a remarkable character, and had a remarkable memory and could relate more early history of the county than probably any other citizen. "Big Bill" as he was called by his firends will be greatly missed on the streets."

William Arnett Callaway "Little Bill"
His obit from the Southern Standard, 2 Apr 1887:
"Callaway, William Arnott, died at his residence in Arkadelphia on the night of the 29th ult., County and Probate Judge of Clark Co., at the age of 63, after a lingering illness of rheumatic paralysis. The funeral services at his late residence on Wednesday afternoon, were officed by Rev. John McLauchlan, past of the Methodist Church of this place...Rose Hill Cemetery."

James Lawson Callaway
His obituary, as published in the Southern Standard, 7 Dec 1888, page 3, col. 4:
"Callaway, James L. Dr., of Hollywood, died very suddenly last Monday of paralysis of the heart. He had gone to the residence of Uncle Dick Wilson Monday morning to transact some business, and not finding Mr. Wilson at home, decided to wait for his return, but the time for his return had passed, and mounting his horse, started for home, but had gone but a few paces when he suddenly fell from his horse dead, and Mrs. Wilson hurriedly advanced to where he had fallen, stricken with death. We understand Dr. Callaway had been troubled with heart disease for some time. Dr. Callaway was well known here having been here all his life. His ancestors were among the first settlers of this county in the long ago."

Emily Ida Callaway
Her obituary, as published in the Southern Standard, 16 Aug 1873, page 2, col 6:
"Callaway, Emily Ida, died, daughter of W A and Emily L Callway, was born Sept. 1 1872 and died Aug. 10, 1873...for the eighth time, death has made requisition upon this home circle."
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He is descended from David Andrew Williams, and is my cousin by way of David's marriage to my great-great grandmother, Mary C Dunn.

And he has been burning the midnight oil, searching for Mary's kin. He found my blog entry with the photo of Bob Dunn and Mary during our recent record snowfall (when everyone was housebound), and ran with it.

He has some very intriguing thoughts about the possibility that Bob could have been Mary's brother.

And as with Mary, he can't find any parents for Bob either.

Maybe the two of us will, as he said in his very well-written and researched email, "figure it out one day."
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From the Gurdon Times, dated 24 Feb 1906:

Valentine Party
Mrs. Tom Callaway, in her charming manner, on last Saturday afternoon, from 3 to 5 o'clock, entertained the Kadohadacho Club with a Valentine party.

The weather was propitious and a large number of ladies were present.

The Valentine idea was carried out in the decorations, the house being artistically decorated in red and white hearts in the spirited contest in which all were so interested; also in the score cards, and last but not least in the delicious and dainty refreshments, after which we were served with most refreshing punch.

In the contest Mrs. Fitzgerald won first prize and Mrs. Kress won the booby prize.

The guests lingered and departed reluctantly, enthusiastic over the afternoon's pleasure and hoping Mrs. Callaway would entertain again at an early date.

Comment: The Kadohadacho Club was apparently the fledgling effort in Gurdon by women of the community to establish a library in their town. The Club was named for a local Indian tribe.

I do not know the identity of Mrs. Tom Callaway for sure - I suspect she may have been the former Mattie Estelle Moore, wife of Thomas F Callaway, who was the son of William "Little Bill" Callaway and Emily L Bevil.

But there are a bunch of Tom Callaways in the Clark County family tree around the same age. I eliminated the widowers...
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There are only the two photos in my collection of Madgie. In each, she is shown with one or both of her children.



Madgie had a twin sister, Maggie. They were one of three sets of twins in their extended McBrayer/Herrington family, and older half sisters of my grandmother, Addie Louise Herrington.

I don't know which sister was born first, but they arrived on a hot summer day in late July 1898 in Clark County, daughters of Julia Ann Callaway and Robert Bruce McBrayer.

Maggie died in 1965. Madgie barely made it out of her teens.

Madgie McBrayer married Homer Buck on 10 Jul 1913, just a couple of weeks short of her 15th birthday.

I don't know the names of either of Madgie's children, the youngest of whom died in 1918 also, and whose gravestone in DeGray Cemetery simply says "Baby Buck."


Madgie's stone was equally simple.


Her obituary appeared in the Southern Standard on 24 Oct 1918.

Mrs. Homer Buck died at her home in this city on Wednesday night of last week with pneumonia. The deceased was 20 years of age and leaves a husband and two children, besides father, mother, three sisters and three brothers. Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon and the remains were buried at DeGray Cemetery.

Madgie McBrayer died on 17 Oct 1918.
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The annual Callaway/Holder (or Holder/Callaway, depending on who your granddaddy was) reunion will be in late June again this year.

Like every year, so I hear. Last year was my first.

I bet I get pegged as an upstart.

'Cause I just sent an email to the reunion organizer - a many times removed cousin - suggesting that anyone who wanted to could swap digitized family information this year.

I'll bring the laptop, portable Flip-pal scanner and digital cameras, and a stack of blank CDs...

I'm curious as to how she will respond.
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Keep the secret or not...that is the question.

I've discovered secrets in my family - on both sides. Some of more gravity than others.

But yeah...I blog about them.

And in some instances, I have questions...why did so-and-so do thus-and-such?

In most cases, I will never know the answer to that question.

Because most of the time, I lack the context in which to frame the answer to this...gee, do I think that was right or wrong?

So I really ought not to judge, huh?

It's also good to remember that they were then just like we are now. Most of them dealt the hand they were played.

Some better than others.

Yes, I write about things that were kept quiet for years - things that I or others have discovered.

From multiply married and murderous Chapins, to Burrises with multiple families or the mid-19th century bad boy Callaway who died so young and had a mysterious wife named Mary, my family tree provides me with countless opportunities to mutter, well, would ya look at that?

My newest curiosity is over a mystery Burris child, whom I would not be at all surprised to find was another of James Littleton Burris' sons.

The discovery of the Mountain Meadows massacre was probably the most shocking surprise I had one Saturday morning in my slippers, with coffee and cigarette...

No one in my family for four generations ever mentioned that.

Maybe they were just trying to forget.

It worked.

Some of the family secrets and mysteries are having an effect on lives today.

I know firsthand of multiple individuals who have questions about true parentage. The people about whom they have questions have been dead for decades - in one case, for over a century.

If there's information out there to help them establish *who they are* - their identity - then, I won't be keeping secrets about my family, and hindering that.

I won't attempt to draw some moral conclusion about my ancestors without knowing the context of their situation. Did James and Adeline have an "understanding" that they didn't blab to everyone else because it was none of their business?

They could have. I don't know.

But I also don't know that they didn't. That's not the point.

The point is - someone out there needs the facts in order to find out who they are.

Good enough for me.
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I have a list in one of the genealogy folders on my computer.

It contains the names and burial locations of some of my relatives whose graves are unmarked.

That list bothers me. I'm doing my best to get rid of all the names on it.

Two of the names fell off the list today.

Nathaniel C Callaway - my g-g-g-grandfather, and Levi A Callaway, his cousin.

They are buried in Confederate Soldiers Rest in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.

My Callaway cousin, Joe, went with me to deliver the stones and watch them being set.



Todd Fox, the cemetery superintendent who set the stones for us, gave me the tops of the 125 year-old numbered concrete markers from the graves. Nathaniel's was 102, Levi's 140.

Two down - four to go.

Unless I find more...


Jan. 24th, 2011 10:51 am
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Got the call on my drive into the office this morning from UPS freight.

Tomorrow, they will deliver VA gravestones for my Callaway kin buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.

I was so excited. Called my Callaway cousin (and partner in crime) in Clark County.

We're putting our heads together for a good time to take the stones to the cemetery and watch them being set. Western Tennessee will be hit by snow this week, so it will have to be later.

Then, we will get our photos...
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I imagine the surname McBrayer to have Scottish or Irish origins. I have only traced my McBrayers back to Cumberland Co., PA in 1764. William McBrayer, born in Cumberland County, married in 1788 in Rutherford Co., NC to Elizabeth Martin.

For the next three generations, McBrayers farmed the land of several North Carolina counties until around 1868, when Eli Wellington McBrayer and his younger brother Tilman (sons of Tilman W McBrayer and Elizabeth Amelia Bridges), removed to the fertile farmland of Clark County, AR and began farming there. In 1877, Tilman moved on to neighboring Pike County, AR.

Eli stayed put. On 8 Nov 1870, he married Harriet "Hattie" K Thornton, and the couple had three children with another on the way when brother Tilman moved on.

The first of those three children was a son - Robert Bruce McBrayer, born 10 Oct 1871, in Clark County. Robert was the first husband of my great grandmother, Julia Ann Callaway.

And although Robert is not related to me by blood, he was still family. As far as I know, McBrayer kids were just as much the kids of Jasper Monroe Herrington as Jasper's kids were Julia Ann Callaway's when they blended their families in 1907. And then went on to have six more.

Robert's parents were well-respected in their little Clark County community called DeGray.

Eli Wellington McBrayer and Hattie K Thornton had 11 children that I have been able to document. Eli was a leader in their church, DeGray Baptist (formerly Bethel Union Baptist). At least four of those children died before they reached the age of 20. DeGray Baptist Church Cemetery is the resting place of Eli, Hattie, and many of their descendants.

Among the photos I got on my recent successful visit to see my aunt was this one of Mary C (Dunn) Callaway Williams, and Hattie K (Thornton) McBrayer. According to the writing on the back, it was taken in the late 1800s.


This would have been a photo cherished by my great-grandmother Julia Ann Callaway McBrayer Herrington.

Her mother and her first mother-in-law, who surely had known each other for years. They were contemporaries and only born two years apart, Hattie being the younger. If the photo is from the late 1800s, then Robert McBrayer was still alive at the time it was taken. (He died in 1905.)

I think there may be a possibility that the names of the women on the photo were reversed. My aunt wrote that Hattie was on the left, and Mary on the right.

My cousin and I zoomed the photo on my laptop and compared it to the 3 known photos of Mary Dunn in my possession. (Took those suckers right off the wall, we did.) We believe Mary is the woman on the left.

And we have no reason to doubt that the women in the photo, regardless of their position, are Mary and Hattie.

I. Love. This.


Verna McBrayer Feimster

Verna was the daughter of Robert McBrayer and Julia Ann Callaway. Born on 5 Sep 1900, she was sixth of the eight children. She married William A "Bill" Feminster on 21 Jun 1928.

So I figure this was Verna's single gal, flapper look - before she married.

Most of Eli and Harriet's children stayed in and around Clark County all their lives.

So did most of their grandchildren, although two of Robert and Julia's sons moved to Texas (Larkin and Charlie).

That's still a long way from Scotland or Ireland...
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Took my Flip-pal on the road today. All of 15 minutes up the interstate to my aunt's house.

I have lots of aunts. But this is an aunt who has, for 30 years, had physical custody of every family photo, news clipping, obituary, letter, or court document belonging to her parents.

For safe-keeping. From her brother and sisters, it would appear. Kind of a gatekeeper, as it were.

Last summer, I thought it would be a good idea to get all the stuff she had and bring it home to scan. Another aunt let that idea come up in conversation.

It was a wonderful idea! For about 8 hours or so.

Then, it was not a good idea...well, not right now.

Last week, I decided it was time to get serious about getting the stuff copied - and now, I didn't have to move anything out of my aunt's house. Backing up my Flip-pal with two digital cameras, I was completely portable and self-sufficient.

It took a week and five lengthy phone conversations.

My aunt enjoyed herself. We took a lunch break and went into town to eat.

She is now very into the "sharing" of family history, and says she is sure there is other stuff tucked away in closets.

So I will be going back again.

And sharing what I think is a really cool photo I got today. Finally, a photo of Julia Ann (Callaway) McBrayer Herrington, without a kid sitting on her lap. Her husband, Jasper Monroe Herrington, is standing next to her. It's the only photo of him that I have.


They were my great-grandparents.

And another, different photo of my grandmother, Addie Louise (Herrington) Burris. (Her parents above.)


Happy dance...
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Southern Standard, 18 Apr 1929
A Beloved woman of De Gray Dies.
Mrs. Mary C. Williams, one of the oldest and most beloved citizens of DeGray departed this life at the home of her only daughter, Mrs. Julia Herrington, on Tuesday, April 9th. She was 80 years, three months and 3 days old at the time of her death. She had been a member of the Baptist church at DeGray 62 years. She lived a Christian life. She was the mother of three children, Julia Ann Callaway, Ned Williams and Willie Williams. She was a kind and loving mother and dutiful wife. Mrs. Williams was married to A. M. Callaway in 1866 and in 1878 she was married to D. A. Williams. She has gone but not forgotten. She has been blind for the past seven years and hasn't been out of the house in two years.



DeGray Baptist Church Cemetery, Clark Co., AR
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No matter how "busy" I get with other lines of descent in the family tree, I always come back to her.

Even some of her historic "facts" are open to debate, as far as I am concerned. I made myself a little chronology of what I know about Mary.

Date of Birth: 5 Jan 1849
Source information for this date includes her death certificate, census records, obituary, gravestone, and family lore

Place of Birth: Georgia
Source information for this location includes census records, her death certificate and family lore

Parents: Unknown
I cannot find a single document that gives the identity of Mary's parents. For almost two months, I chased little girls named Mary Dunn across the United States of America, and never found her. However, I can tell you the parentage and location of just about every other Mary Dunn my g-g-grandmother's age.

And there's a story there - something that was a closely guarded secret. Since she was underage to contract for marriage, Mary's first marriage record had this to say about her parents:

...Mary C Dunn aged 17 years...her having no father and the consent of her mother made her home with another family in their presents (sic) was the sight (sic) for porfomace (sic)...

Her death certificate, for which her son Rubin Ned was the informant, was equally tantilizing for its seemingly deliberate omission of her parents' identities. On it, Ned said Mary's father's name was Mr. Dunn. He did not know what her mother's name was.

I don't believe that.

Religion: Baptist, member of Bethel Union (later DeGray) Baptist Church, DeGray, Clark County, AR
Source information for this includes Conference Meeting minutes of Bethel Union Baptist Church, DeGray, Clark County, AR and her obituary.

Date of Marriage: 8 Sep 1866 to Allen Mason Lowery Callaway, in Clark County, AR
Source information for this marriage includes the marriage bond and license, and her obituary

Date of Marriage: 13 Jul 1878 to David Andrew Williams, in Clark County, AR
Source information for this marriage includes the marriage bond and license, and her obituary

Children: Marriage 1: Julia Ann Callaway, born 19 Jun 1873, in Clark County, AR
Marriage 2: Rubin Ned Williams, born 14 Nov 1881, in Clark County, AR; and
William Andrew Williams, born 13 Nov 1882 in Clark County, AR
Source information for children includes census records, Mary's obituary, her children's obituaries, and family lore

Date of Death: 9 Apr 1929 in DeGray, Clark Co., AR
Source information for this date includes her death certificate, obituary, gravestone and family lore

Cause of Death: Noxemia, i.e., insufficient oxygen in the blood
Source information derived from her death certificate

Burial: DeGray Baptist Church Cemetery, DeGray, Clark County, AR
Source information for this location includes her death certificate and gravestone.

Family lore about Mary is about as sketchy as historic documents. There's a photo of Mary and a man I have been told was Bob Dunn, who came to see her from Texas. I don't know if the photo was taken while she was married to Mace Callaway or David Williams. She certainly doesn't look as old as she was in another undated photo of her with her daughter and adult grandson.

And Dunn - aha! A family member?


Brother, cousin, father? I chased Robert/Bob Dunns around the country in census records. I have no idea which, if any, is him in the sub-folders I have on Robert Dunn. I can't put the two together in any context, even though I feel sure he was related to her. He just doesn't look old enough (to me) to be her father.

My paternal grandmother, who was Mary's granddaughter, always told me and other members of the family that Mary was her "Indian grandmother." Several in our family did not believe that.

A few months ago, we laid that one to rest when one of my aunts took a mtDNA test. Grandma was right. If, as my father and I suspect, Mary was illegitimate and a man named Dunn was her father, then she may have been half native.

And if she was born in Georgia, it doesn't necessarily mean she was Cherokee. There were a multitude of native tribes whose homeland was Georgia.

So I stand, once more, in front of her photo, and ask her to give me a sign.
dee_burris: (Default)
It was a friend of my son's, looking over my shoulder one afternoon, who asked the questions.

Why were there so many sections to the old marriage licenses? And what was a marriage bond? Did people really have to post a cash bond to get married back then?

I used my 2X great grandmother's second as an example.


There were four parts to a marriage record in 1878 in Arkansas - the bond, the license, the certificate of marriage, and the certificate of record.

The bond required a principal and his security - the principal's back-up if he had to pay the $100 and couldn't. ($100 in 1878 had the same buying power as $2190.75 does today.)


The bond was required in the event it was later found that one or both parties could not legally contract for marriage. It was a penal bond, essentially a punishment for lying.


If, for example, one or the other parties was underage, was married to someone else, or had been coerced, the marriage could be set aside.

And someone had to pay the piper, as it were...
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I don't know which one of them was born first on 17 Jul 1908 - my paternal grandmother, Addie Louise, or her twin, Hattie Inez. They were the first children of two sets of twins born to Jasper Monroe Herrington and Julia Ann Callaway. After them came:

Florence Isabelle Herrington, born 13 Feb 1910;
Robert Earl Herrington, born 23 Dec 1911; and
Twin daughters Bernice Josephine and Eunice Catheline Herrington, born 31 Oct 1913.

But Louise and Inez were not the first children born to their parents - not by a long shot.

In order to understand how just how many kids might have been underfoot in the Herrington household, you have to go back through the marriages for both Jasper and Julia.

Grandma's dad was married twice before he married her mother. (Some researcher say three times, but I have not been able to find any evidence of a marriage between Jasper and Emma Willman.)

On 12 May 1895, Jasper married Tabitha Luvenia Bailey in Hot Spring County. They had a daughter, Maude, born that year. Jasper and Tabitha divorced, which was something I didn't know until I started shaking the family tree.

On 15 Sep 1899, Jasper married a widow named Mary Ann (Cothran) Johnson. They had two children, Lillian (born 21 Jan 1902) and Richard (born in 1905). Mary Ann Herrington died in 1907.

So when Jasper Monroe Herrington married Julia Ann Callaway, he already had three children. He and Julia would have six more.

But that did not include Julia's children from her first marriage.

I know without having to be told how Julia Ann Callaway met her first husband, Robert Bruce McBrayer.

Both their families were longstanding members of the little Baptist church in their small Clark County community of DeGray.

They married on 13 Dec 1891 in Clark County, and had eight children:

Charlie H McBrayer, born 13 Oct 1892;
Maude C McBrayer, born 19 Nov 1894;
Larkin Wellington McBrayer, born 1 Mar 1896;
Twin daughters, Maggie Lee and Madgie Buck McBrayer, born 26 Jul 1898;
Verna McBrayer, born 5 Sep 1900;
John Ernest McBrayer, born in 1904; and
A stillborn infant, date of birth unknown.

How many kids were there in your family, Grandma?

Seventeen, including three sets of twins.

I'd dearly love to have a photo of the house that sheltered the Jasper and Julia Herrington family.

At the time of their marriage, they already had nine kids living at home. By the time of the 1910 census, there were eleven.

And we talk about those being "simpler times..."

Grandma became a nurse - an LPN at the hospital in Arkadelphia.

This was Louise Herrington in 1928.


When my dad handed me that photograph a couple of years ago, he remarked, Didn't I have a pretty mother?

He did, and the pretty little nurse caught the eye of the assistant postmaster at the Arkadelphia Post Office.

On 18 Nov 1929, Addie Louise Herrington married George Washington Burris, Jr. They had three daughters and one son. Eventually, there were thirteen grandchildren.

The George and Louise Burris family grew up in Arkadelphia, in a rock clad house on the corner of 9th and Crittenden Streets. My grandmother loved flowers and had a border that went all the way around the house, with huge hydrangeas on each side of the front door.

My grandparents loved having their family come to visit. Grandma spent hours cooking before and during those visits. She was one of a long line of women who believed most anything that happened to you could be faced much easier with a home cooked meal in your belly.

The noon meal was dinner and the evening meal was supper. You rose and retired with the chickens. (No, they didn't have chickens in town that I recall, but you got up early and went to bed early.)

During visits in the fall, my dad or one of the uncles would climb the pecan tree and shake it so we kids could get the nuts that fell to the ground. Grandma needed those for her famous Karo nut pies.

I loved doing that, but was really glad when I got too big to be the kid who sat on the ice bag (paper, back then) on top of the ice cream freezer in the summer, while a grown up cranked. We had all the Orange Crush ice cream we could eat.

As a child, I was lucky enough to be able to spend several days over a few summers with my grandparents.

The bacon frying fork always amused me, even as a kid. Grandma had one fork that she used for turning bacon in the mornings, and you weren't supposed to set the table with it. It was for frying bacon.

One summer when I was about 7 or 8, I spent a week with my grandparents. There was a sidewalk sale "uptown," and Grandma thought I might like to spend my little bit of mad money there.

We got ready and walked from the house to the sale. She didn't bat an eye when I bought myself a silver lipstick and proceeded to adorn my mouth with it. (I must have looked like a little ghoul.)

I had my eye out for a gift for her. About the third store, I saw them.

Earrings. Patriotic - red, white and blue earrings. They were clip-ons, like she wore. They had multiple dangling chains with red, white and blue balls all the way down the chains, which came half-way down your jaw. Not like what she wore. Ever.

But to my child's eye, they were beautiful. And a bargain, too - only fifty cents.

I waited until she was busy looking at another table, and made my purchase. The clerk wrapped them up in a paper bag under the table, so Grandma couldn't see.

I was going to wait until we got home to give them to her, but the excitement was killing me. I gave them to her on the spot.

She opened them up, and exclaimed over them. Gave me a big hug and a kiss.

And put those gawd-awful earrings on, in the middle of uptown Arkadelphia, and wore them all day.

And every day I was there that week.

Grandma quilted. She wasn't big into sewing per se, but she had a friend who was, and she kept all 10 of her granddaughters' Barbies incredibly fashionable for years.

She made quilts for each of us, starting with the oldest and each year, presenting our parents with the quilt of the year.

Over my childhood and into my young adulthood, Grandma made me two quilts. The first one was given to me when I was quite young, and my mother let me and my sisters take the quilts out to the backyard to make a tent over the clothesline with them. We weighted them down with rocks to keep them from flapping in the breeze.

Needless to say, I no longer have that quilt.

But I do have the last one she made for me before she died.


It's a Split Rail Fence quilt, and although I do still use it, I use it sparingly. It's hand-pieced and hand-quilted. You don't find that much any more.

Grandma died on 11 Jul 1980, just six days short of her 72nd birthday, and six years after my granddad passed.

I was living in Louisiana then, and didn't get home for the funeral. I also wasn't around to help my dad and one of my aunts in their effort to get a more equitable distribution of my grandparents' personal effects. The three of us are pretty sure there is quite a bit of the Herrington, Callaway and McBrayer family history mouldering away in the attics and storerooms of my two other aunts.

Time is on my side now. And I'm back home.

I make a few trips to Clark County now and again. On a trip last summer, I stopped by the house at 9th and Crittenden.


The passing of thirty years has not been kind to the house or the flower garden that Grandma loved so much.

Her immaculate flower borders are gone, ripped out and replaced by weeds and overgrown shrubs. The detached garage has almost fallen down.

I did see signs that someone was working on the house, as there were new windows hung on the west side.

Maybe someone will love it as much as she did.

Her memory remains, cherished by so many of us.


George and Louise Burris, at the side entrance of the house at 9th and Crittenden

See you on the other side, Grandma.
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Thomas G Hemphill was born in June 1842, the son of Samuel Hemphill and Nancy Callaway. He was single all his life, as far as I can tell.

He enlisted in the Confederate States Army at Little Rock on 15 Jul 1861. He served as a Private in the Clark Co Artillery, Wiggins Battery, 2nd Ark Light Artillery.

A note at this website discusses the history of the battery and states, in part:

For reasons not yet fully researched, the men of the Clark County Artillery appear to have been singled out by the Federal authorities for harsher than normal treatment. They were not included in the general parole of prisoners in April and May of 1865, but were held well into the summer of that year before finally being released.

Thomas' military records seem to bear that out.

According to muster roll records, Thomas was taken prisoner at Shelbyville TN on 27 Jun 1863. Then, he was:
  • Sent to Louisville KY on 15 Jul 1863.
  • Sent to Camp Chase (OH) 20 Jul 1863.
  • Transferred to Camp Douglass (IL) on 24 Aug 1863. (Muster roll record dated Nov/Dec 1864 showed him as a POW, with last pay date of 30 Apr 1863.)
  • Transferred to Point Lookout MD on 14 Mar 1865.
  • Admitted to General Hospital, Howard's Grove, Richmond VA on 22 Mar 1865 (treatment for "scorb," e.g., scurvy).
  • Paroled at Meridian MS on 10 May 1865.
Thomas returned home to Clark County.

In the 1880 census, he was living with his brother John and his family in Clark County.

In 1900 he was listed as a boarder in the home of Alonzo and Martha Obaugh, Caddo Twp, Clark Co., AR. Alonzo was his step-brother, his mother having married Alonzo's father, James H Obaugh, in 1858, after the death of Samuel Hemphill in 1847.

According to the Clark County Historical Association's cemetery book, "Clark County Cemeteries, Vol II," T G Hemphill is buried in an unmarked grave in Rose Hill Cemetery in Arkadelphia. A list of Confederates buried in unmarked graves in Rose Hill was extracted from an article in the Southern Standard dated 1 Jul 1909.

So for now, I have to date Thomas Hemphill's death between 1900 and 1909. If anyone has an exact date of death, I'd love to hear from you.


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