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There's no tombstone for Martha L Dunn of which I am aware. I have no idea where she is buried, and the places I would customarily look have left me empty handed.

I think Martha was the sister of my g-g-grandmother, Mary C Dunn.

As with Mary, and the man I suspect is her brother, Bob Dunn, I can't find her in the census as a child.

Martha L Dunn was married to David Andrew Williams in 1869. According to her obituary, she bore him two children, although I have been able only to account for one.

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Martha L Dunn Williams' obituary as published in
The Southern Standard in Arkadelphia, Clark County, Arkansas
on 11 Nov 1876, on page 3 column 3.


Died,
At Hollywood, in this county, on the 2d inst. Mrs. Martha L., wife of Mr. David Williams, of this city, in the 28th year of her age.

She had been a severe sufferer, with that dread disease, consumption, for the past eighteen months, but bore her sufferings with that patience and fortitude known only to the truly religious, and died in the full triumphs of a well grounded faith. She leaves a husband, two children and numerous friends to mourn her loss.


Getting a generation behind these Dunns is one of my biggest brick walls.
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.


.


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Jo Desha Williams, with his sons Cedric and Paul, Thanksgiving 1899








This is a Sepia Saturday post.
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.





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Funeral Notice
The funeral service of
Cathrine Leah,
the beloved 5-year-old daughter
of Mr. and Mrs. J D Williams,
will take place at the Christian
Church at 2 o'clock this after-
noon, services to be conducted by
Eld. C C Cline and Dr G W
Harkey.
Friends of the family invited
to attend.

Russellville, Ark.., December 9, 1904


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*I don't know who wrote the text for the card, but from the mis-spelling of her name, I am guessing probably it was someone at church or a family friend.
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It was probably what I deserved for saving a pile of stuff to go through at night.

At the end of a work day.

The photo album and loose papers I inherited when my grandmother died stayed well-packed in a climate controlled closet in my home for probably a year after her death in 1998 - maybe a little more.

After I saw how the massive stacks of family group sheets, three rings binders and spiral notebooks in which I was keeping typewritten pages documenting my ever-growing ancestral lines were threatening my living space, I figured there had to be another way.

So I found and downloaded family tree software to my computer and off I went.

But I knew the boxes in the closet held the keys to more complete knowledge about Williamses, Meeks, Baldings, and Parrishes, so I went in and pulled them out.

I spent about two weeks categorizing things into piles, and extracting the information from them to input into the database. The Williams family photo album was (and still is) a monstrous undertaking.

I set the yellowed newspaper clippings aside, because they were undated and unattributed. They had been (mostly) very neatly snipped out of the newspapers in which they appeared, and I knew I'd probably have to study each one to match it up with a person, place, or event.

So that pile was last.


The *very* last clipping.

He had to be related. His surname was Williams.

But I had never heard anyone talk about him.

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Frankfort KY is in Franklin County, where my Williamses lived for several generations after emigrating there from Virginia, and prior to the move to Arkansas around 1885.

But that name... U V Williams?

Ulysses? Surely I'd have heard if we had a Ulysses...

And the V...all I could think of was Victor, but the Victors in the family were Baldings.

I set it aside.

But I didn't put it away.


It was weeks before my Eureka! moment.

I was looking for Jacob Williams, father of Mildred Carleton Williams after his wife died in 1876. I was having a devil of a time.

But wait...could it be Jacob? He was not the head of the household. What's up with this?

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Urban? A doctor and - apparently - a younger brother of Jacob.

What kind of name is Urban?

One that starts with a U...now where have I seen that before?

And that was how I met Urban Valentine Williams, M.D. Google turns up tons of information on him.

I think I'd have gone by "U V" too...
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Jo Desha and Maxie Leah Williams family, Christmas Day 1900
photo by McLeod, the Wild West photographer


Every time I see this one, I just dissolve into gales of laughter.

Can't you just imagine the dinner table discussion a couple of weeks before the holiday?

"Honey, what shall we do this year for Christmas? After all, it's the first Christmas of the new century."

Oh, I don't know. . .hey, why don't we get that McLeod guy to take a picture? We could dress up and go sit outside on some rocks."

"Marvelous idea, darling! And we could put Paul and Cedric on a couple of asses. They've been acting like asses for a few days now. It would serve them right. . ."


The back of the photo has an extensive ad for "McLeod, the Wild West Photographer. . . the man who made Happy Hollow famous the world over."


This is a Sepia Saturday post.
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As a child growing up, there were occasions at my maternal grandparents' house when the talk turned to family members.

If there was discussion of members of the Williams family, it was inevitable to hear Cedric's name.

Cedric was the Williams family's black sheep - a ne'er do-well, an embarrassment. He drank too much, couldn't keep a job for long, had toasted two marriages.

Even in death, Cedric just couldn't get it right.


Cedric Hazen Williams was born on 29 Jun 1892 in Russellville, Pope Co., AR to Jo Desha Williams and Maxie Leah Meek. He was the second child of five, and until the birth of his younger brother Paul in 1894, was an only child.

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Paul and Cedric Williams, about 1899


He never knew his older sister, Mildred Imogene, as she died on 28 Jan 1890, well over a year before his birth.

I've always mused that Desha Williams must have had some say in his first two children's names. After the death of his own mother in 1876, Desha was raised by his older sister, Mildred (called Minnie) and her husband, Josiah Hazen Shinn. I wonder if he chose those names for his children to honor his sister and brother-in-law.

If Desha and Maxie hoped that Cedric would follow in Josiah Hazen Shinn's footsteps, they were sorely disappointed.


I have to consider the time in which they all lived, and in which the tragic accident befell young Cedric.

A wagon rolled over his head when he was 10 or 11 years old. Imagine the terror of a parent to have such a horrible thing happen to a child.

But the child recovered. The physical wounds healed.

They must all have breathed a sigh of relief, and given thanks.

They just didn't realize that a traumatic brain injury was for life, and things would never be normal again.

And neither would Cedric.


Cedric married for the first time in 1915, and he and his wife had a daughter, Charlotte.

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Cedric, Kathleen and Charlotte Williams, 1918


Things did not go well at home, and apparently not at work either, because Cedric asked his younger brother, Joe, for a large sum of money. His brother refused to give the money, and the brothers grew apart.

Cedric married again. He and his second wife had two sons.

But things had not been right since that day long ago when the wagon rolled over his head. The alcohol he consumed to take away the pain wasn't working.

Cedric attempted to take his own life, and failed.


On Thursday morning, 23 Aug 1951, Cedric was alone in Crosbyton, TX, at the Lawson Hotel, where he swallowed sodium cyanide, one of the most rapidly acting of known poisons.

It took the Williams family less than 24 hours to regain enough composure to keep Cedric from embarrassing them again.

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Arkansas Gazette, 24 Aug 1951


Cedric Hazen Williams, Traveling Salesman, Dies
Prescott, Aug. 23 - Cedric Hazen Williams, aged 59, former traveling salesman for Grunden Martin Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, died unexpectedly of a heart attack Thursday morning at Crosbyton, Tex.

He was a native of Russellville and a lifelong Arkansan, having also lived at Little Rock, Prescott and Texarkana.

Survivors include his mother, Mrs. J D Williams of 2310 Ringo Street, Little Rock; two brothers, J D Williams, Jr. and P M Williams of Little Rock; his wife, Mrs. C H Williams of Prescott; two sons of the home, and a daughter of Oklahoma City.



Sometimes things just aren't as they seem.

See you on the other side, Cedric.
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Just amazing the things you find when you are scouring old newspapers...

Apparently John W R Williams, my first cousin three times removed, from Franklin, KY was a ~ gasp ~ salesman. (This bunch of Williamses should not be confused with the Georgia Williamses who moved to Clark County and had no parents...I know, sometimes it's confusing to me, too...)


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Frankfort Roundabout, 15 Jun 1895


Who knew that [c]onstipation causes more than half the ills of women?

I thought it was men...

Live and learn.
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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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Far right: Doris Balding Williams
Far left: Her daughter, Judith Williams Neumann
Standing: Doris' granddaughter
Seated in middle: Doris' great-granddaughter

Photo taken in 1995.
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I hauled out my big honking plastic file box tonight to get into my Balding/Chapin/Parrish hard file.

I needed to make sure I had scanned all the prints sent to me by another Parrish researcher and cousin who discovered my family tree on Rootsweb in 2009.

I had, and they will be in the next post.

But while I was in it, I found a document of dates of death for Baldings/Chapins/Parrishes written by my grandmother, Doris Balding Williams, probably shortly after the death of her brother, Gene, in 1980. She may have been transcribing her own mother's entries in her Bible.

Typewritten.

That was unusual for her. Pretty much everything I've seen written by Grandma was in her careful (and always legible) longhand.

What was not unusual was the editorial comment she made in her list of family members and dates of their deaths.

Photobucket

Now, she had to know someone would find this.

And keep it.

And look at it, and laugh out loud...

See you on the other side, Grandma...
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They called her Maggie.


Photobucket


She was the next younger sister of Minnie Williams, and lived with her sister and brother-in-law until her marriage to James Webster Wells on 2 Jan 1885, at "the house of J H Shinn" in Russellville, Pope Co., AR.

She and James had five children I have documented.

Maggie Williams Wells died on 19 Jul 1922 in Benton Co., AR. She is buried next to her husband in Bentonville Cemetery, Bentonville, Benton Co., AR.
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One of my co-workers, whose family tree I am currently researching, asked me today how much my "hobby" costs me on an annual basis.

I hadn't really thought about it. So I ticked off the subscription services...

Thirty bucks a month for Ancestry (I have the international membership, so I can track my German ancestors, my son's Canadian ancestors, and now, my co-worker's Serbian ancestors - and I pay monthly just in case I need to stop...).

Eighty bucks a year for Footnote.

Fifty-six bucks a year for Genealogy Bank.

So, what? Five hundred dollars a year for subscription services.

Throw in the cemetery transcription books now and then, usually between twenty and fifty dollars a piece. But you only buy them once, and then you list yourself on Books We Own and do look-ups for other folks.

Add in some gasoline for the inevitable road trips. The cost of CDs on which I burn all sorts of stuff to send to cousins, known and just discovered.

What if all of that came up to $1,000 a year?

You gotta look at the pay-off...


I was "discovered" by three new cousins last week.

One I've already blogged about, here.

Another has been emailing me about her Gotts. Her Gotts (female) married into my Williamses (male) back in 1774 in Maryland. Then my Williamses went to Kentucky and the rest of her Gotts trekked on over to Tennessee.

I found some of her Tennessee Gotts for her on Find a Grave - she had never heard of it.

And I told her I had subscriptions where I could do some searching for her.

While I was searching tonight for any of her Tennessee Gotts who might have served in the Civil War, I found something on Footnote I have never seen before.

An amnesty document. Apparently, her direct ancestral Gotts were "all loyal to the Government of the United States, and have been so during the late rebellion..."

And their signatures are on the document.

Photobucket


I may never find one of those again. My own Southern direct ancestral families were often divided in their loyalties during that "rebellion," and brother sometimes fought against brother.

And I would never have gone looking for it, much less found it, if she hadn't emailed me one day last week, and said, hey, I think we may be related...


My newly-found Chapin cousin sent me an email this past weekend that had eleventy million exclamation points in the subject line, so I knew the attachment was gonna be a good one.

And it was...three pages of genealogical treasure, handwritten by his grandfather, who was born in 1891. As a result of that, we have busted down a brick wall on the woman who is my cousin's second great grandmother, and my third.

How do you put a price on that?


Hobby? I guess you could call it that...

Obsession? Most likely.

What about a calling?

I don't really care what anyone labels it.

They *all* have stories.

And I am a storyteller.
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Can't reconcile these.

One has to be a cenotaph.

Josiah Hazen Shinn is buried beside his wife, Mildred Carleton Williams Shinn, in Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock, Pulaski County, AR.

Isn't he?

I mean, I photographed their graves. Personally.

It wasn't an hallucination.

I can prove it.

The stone for the family plot...
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Josiah's marker, at the foot of his grave...
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Minnie's marker, at the foot of her grave...
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So what is this?

Photobucket

It looks like a gravestone for Josiah Hazen Shinn to me.

In another cemetery.

A devoted husband and loving father. He has entered into the fullness of life. He lived a peaceful, constructive and an honorable life and such a life smiles at death. He lived no inglorious life and came to a peaceful and glorious death. He was the bough broken under the load of ripened fruit and such as he have passed into God's acre, the christian's home.

And the earth is mounded up behind the stone. There's a footstone there. Like a fairly recent grave.

Next to a retaining wall very similar to the one that surrounds the (former) Williams family plot in Oakland Cemetery, Russellville, AR. Where Katharine Leah Williams is buried. She was Minnie's niece.

And who is that little girl bearing flowers...
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 photo Williams Grocer Co edit.jpg

My great grandfather, Jo Desha Williams, owned the Williams Grocer Co. in Russellville for about 20 years.

By 1920, the family store had been sold, and Jo moved his family to Little Rock, where they remained until his death in 1950 and the death of his wife, Maxie Leah Meek in 1955.
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I have no earthly idea who those guys were. It's another unlabeled photo courtesy of my great grandmother Maxie Williams.

I'll have to study photos of cars to date it, I guess. Obviously before great granddaddy went out of business.

Family stories for the reason about the demise of the family business in Russellville abound - many suggest he extended credit to too many folks.

I have to wonder if the 1906 fire had anything to do with it. He was way underinsured.
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She is on my maternal side of the family.

I never knew her, as she died in 1932 - two and a half decades before I was born.

Mildred Carlton Williams was the daughter of Jacob Williams and Catharine C Mueller. (It was Catharine's family about whom I wrote on a Mystery Monday recently.)

She was a middle child, if that's what you call the fourth of eight kids.

Born on 30 Jul 1856 in Franklin Co., KY, she was the oldest daughter. Maybe that's why she "handled" so many family issues, beginning with her mother's death in 1876 in Kentucky.

That happens to oldest daughters. From what I know of Minnie (that's what they called her), she met all of her considerable challenges, and soldiered on...


Minnie was a bride of just over one year when her mother, Catharine (Mueller) Williams, died.

She had married Josiah Hazen Shinn on 7 Jan 1875, and had just marked her first wedding anniversary at the time of her mother's death on 14 Jan 1876. She was a new mother herself, having given birth to her first child four months earlier.

One of the thoughts that crossed my mind was that Minnie might have traded her light colored clothing in favor of mourning. There is a photo of Minnie with her husband and son, Roy, that was taken after 23 Oct 1885.

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In that photo, Minnie appears to be wearing mourning colors.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure of it. Grace Electra Shinn, Josiah and Minnie's firstborn, is not in the photo.

That's because Grace died on 23 Oct 1885, in Russellville, Pope Co., AR, of malarial fever. At that time of year, mosquito season should have been over in that part of the state. Had Grace had malaria since summer?

I just can't imagine having to watch my child die.
Josiah and Minnie only had two biological children of whom I am aware.

But they raised a whole bunch more.

When Minnie's mother died, the newlywed couple took four of Minnie's siblings into their home. They were responsible for five children, aged from birth to 14.

The 1880 census shows the family living in Bridgeport, Franklin Co., KY. The household now included Minnie and Josiah's newborn son, Joseph Roy Longworth Shinn. (By 1882, the whole clan had relocated to Pope Co., AR.)

The same census shows Minnie's father, Jacob Williams, living with his brother, Urban Valentine Williams, who was a phyisican in Bridgeport. In addition to providing for his brother, Dr. Williams' sister, Millie was living with them. (Millie Williams never married. She is buried in the family plot in Frankfort Cemetery in Kentucky.)

I wondered about Jacob. Why had his children gone to live with his oldest daughter when his wife died?

Jacob Williams was only 54 years old when he became a widower. He was a blacksmith in Franklin County who fought in the Civil War.

Maybe he was ill. Perhaps blacksmithing wasn't fetching the income it previously had.

Or maybe he just couldn't raise the children after Catharine died.


I guess you could say Minnie's husband, Josiah Hazen Shinn, was a minor local celebrity of sorts.

A Google search on him brings up all sorts of results.

From The History of the Shinn Family, written by Josiah and published in 1903, this sketch, which presumably would be a self-portait of sorts (pages 252-254):

Josiah Hazen Shinn, eldest child of Josiah Carlock and Elizabeth Frances (Gilpin) Shinn, was born at Russellville, Ark., 3/29/1849; learned to read at his father's knee in his third year; to Louisville, Ky., in 1854; entered school there in his sixth year, being placed in the third grade; to Cincinnati in 1859; passed through the intermediate and high school grades of the schools of that city; graduated at the Ohio Normal School in 1869; admitted to the bar at Cincinnati 1872, but never practiced; he was examined for admission by Stanley Matthews, afterwards Associate Justice of the U. S. at Washington; Judge Hoadley, T. D. Lincoln and Henry Snow; taught school for eighteen years in Ohio, Kentucky and Arkansas; married, 1/7/1875, at Bridgeport, Franklin County, Ky., Mildred Carlton, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Mueller) Williams.

Mr. Shinn moved to Arkansas in 1882; institute instructor for five years under W. E. Thompson; State Superintendent; President State Teachers' Association 1887; Chief Clerk in office of Secretary of State under Elias B. Moore and Ben. B. Chism 1885-1890; State Superintendent of Public Instruction 1890-1894; received the highest vote cast for any man on the state ticket; established the first State Normal Schools in Arkansas while in this office; organized the Southern Educational Association at Moorehead City, N. C., in 1891, and was elected its first President; re-elected at Chattanooga, Tenn, in 1892; Vice-President National Educational Association 1892; placed specially by the Legislature of Arkansas in charge of the Arkansas Educational Exhibit at the World's Columbian Exposition 1893; appointed Judge in the Liberal Arts Department of the World's Fair by the U. S. Commission 1893; to the Russian Empire in 1894-1895, where he was presented to Emperer Nicholas I, at the Anitchkoff Palace.

Writer for the Little Rock Gazette and Democrat; editor and publisher for ten years of the Arkansas Teacher and Southern School Journal"; established the first Chautauquas in Arkansas at Springdale, Mammoth Spring and Fort Smith in 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901; lecturer 1896 and 1897 in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri; President of Springdale College 1898-1901; was appointed to the Accounts Division, Indian Office, Department of Interior, Washington, D. C., 1901; to the Indian Warehouse, Chicago, Ill., 1902.

Mr. Shinn has published the following books and pamphlets: "The Public School and the College, 1891; "The South in Public Education," 1891; Vassar College, Pamphlet, 1891; "Illustrated Arkansas," 1892; "History of the American People," 1893; "History of Education in Arkansas," published by the U. S. Government, 1899; "Russia at the World's Fair," in English and Russian, 1894, This was republished by Russian governmental officials. "History of Arkansas," for schools, 1895; "Primary History of the United States," 1899; "History of the Russian Empire," for Libraries, in preparation. Registrar of the S. A. R. for Arkansas, 1892-3-4. Member of the American Institute, 1894; Honorary Member of the Pennsylvania and West Virginia Historical Societies, 1894; Member of the Imperial Russian Geographical and Historical Societies, 1894; Member of the Christian Church, a good speaker and a Democrat.

Minnie also got her due in the book, on page 254, at the end of the entry about Josiah. I was glad to see that, and it suggested to me that Josiah looked at her as a true partner.

Mildred Carlton Shinn, also a member of the Christian Church, was prominent in Church and social circles in Little Rock, and other parts of Arkansas; is a woman of strong convictions, and her influence has always been given to the suppression of liquor selling and other forms of vice; progressive in religious matters, she always favored advanced methods for the propagation of the Gospel at home and abroad; a member of the C. W. B. M. of her own church, and of the W. C. T. U. wherever she has resided; of the Society for the Rescue of Fallen Women at Little Rock; of the Co-Operative Club for the betterment of all classes, in which she took an active interest in Social Science and Economics. At the death of her mother, in 1876, she undertook to rear four of her brothers and sisters; Margaret Williams, now the wife of James W. Wells, Bentonville, Ark; Mattie Williams, for eight years clerk in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Little Rock, Ark., and still so employed; Jo Desha Williams, now a successful merchant at Russellville, Ark., and Julian Otis Williams, now and for ten years past a compositor on the Little Rock Gazette and Democrat, Little Rock, Ark.

Through all this labor she found time for every good work of the neighborhood and exerted a good influence over the moral and intellectual status of every place in which she lived. Her own house was always in order, and she always found time to aid every good work with her preserce, her means and her whole soul. Two busier people have rarely ever been united as happily as these, and their silver wedding, 1/7/1900, was a milestone in their lives which showed them the appreciation others had for them. Four hundred silver presents from all parts of the United States made the event one never to be forgotten.

I'd like to have known the woman described in Josiah's book. I wondered if her effort to suppress "liquor selling" ever took her to a saloon? There were plenty of watering holes and stills in Arkansas.

But I've never found an old news article suggesting that she teamed up with Carrie Nation, so maybe she found other ways to express her "stong convictions."

Guess I'll find out on the other side...
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My maternal grandfather...





Jo Duffie Williams, age 6 months
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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.


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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?

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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.
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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.


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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.)

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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.

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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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