dee_burris: (Default)
2011-03-23 04:52 pm

Putting the pieces together...

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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.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-03-21 07:51 pm

Tombstone Tuesday: Don't I wish...

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.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-03-16 07:26 pm
Entry tags:

Well, poop

I don't think Solomon Burriss is our missing sire of our William.

I am going through all the pages of the pension file, and found a 2 May 1851 affidavit by William Burriss, given in Stanly County, NC, in support of his mother, Judith's, request for a widows pension.

Our William was living in Hardin Co., TN with his second wife and children in 1850.

I know they traveled, but part of my William's daily life was lack of money.

That's at least 550 miles.

Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Poop.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-03-15 08:05 pm
Entry tags:

Oh. My. Gosh.

It's so preliminary.

But I am still in squee mode.

I have a new bunch of leads to run down in my forever quest to find the parents of William Burris, born about 1785 in what we think may have been North Carolina.


You know how you have those brick walls you keep on coming back to? Because you really enjoy banging your head against brick walls...

So I got to thinking on my drive home from work...

William was too young to have served in the Revolutionary War.

But his daddy wasn't.

So I fired up Footnote.

I found three Burris/Burriss/Burrus men from Virginia and North Carolina (some researchers say he came from Virginia, and one of his grandsons said in a 1937 letter that his grandfather, William [s]ettled in Pennsylvania. Scotch Irish. Sent to Virginia.


So, lookie what I found in Solomon Burriss' Revolutionary War pension file...


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They had the following children:
Taylor born December 28, 1784.
William " August 23, 1786.
Gracy " July 5, 1788.
Joshua " June 4, 1790.
Elizabeth " [June] 2, 1793.
Judith " December 16, 1795.
Solomon " August -- 1800.
Ann " February 3, 1804.
Obedience " [February] 6, 1808.



And they lived in Stanly County, NC.

I know, I know...

But now, I have so many leads to check.

The journey is good.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-03-06 11:31 am

Heard from a many times removed Williams cousin...

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."
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-27 06:24 pm

Another brick in the wall...

We talk about brick walls. All of us.

But the more I think about it, my family tree is more like a lacy willow with the occasional errant limb that just kind of sticks out.

I can see behind many of the spaces. But not all of them.

The ones I can't see behind are bricks in the wall - solid and seemingly immovable.

I haven't really counted, but I think we are running about even on the genders of the bricks.


One of those bricks is Elizabeth McCarley. She was my 3X grandmother.

Maybe I'm grasping at straws, but what follows is my theory about the possibility of Elizabeth's parentage and siblings.

I've always known there must have been a familial connection between Elizabeth and Moses McCarley. They both died in Pope Co., AR, and both are buried in the small (and now abandoned) McCarley Family Cemetery, not far from where my father lives in Pope Co., AR. I've often thought they must be siblings.

According to census records, Moses was born in 1792 in South Carolina. Elizabeth was born in 1799 in Tennessee. She came with her husband, Andrew Sawyer Ashmore, to Pope Co. from Lawrence Co., TN in 1838. A large, ox drawn wagon party of quite a few families made the trip. Elizabeth and Andrew's daughter, Elizabeth Adeline Ashmore was my g-g-grandmother, and married her husband, James Littleton Burris in November 1840 in Pope Co., after all families had settled. She was 17 years old.

Moses and his wife, Elizabeth P Griffin, also made that journey. They added three daughters to their family in Pope County - Mary, Martha and Minerva - before Elizabeth Griffin McCarley died in 1847. She is also buried in the McCarley Family Cemetery.

There are family trees that document Moses as the son of Samuel and Ally McCarley. They give the date of Samuel's birth as 1775 in Georgia and say that his date of death was 6 Jun 1838 in Harris County, TX. Some of those trees also show a younger brother for Moses, John, born 1797 in South Carolina, and died 1850 in Tennessee.

However, there are other family trees for Samuel McCarley b 1775 in Georgia, (and plenty of message board posts) that say he had one wife, with whom he had 11 children. Further, there is documentation that Samuel McCarley and his wife, Celia Franks (date of marriage ranges from 1818 to 1823) were pioneer settlers of Austin TX.

However, it seems to me that given the period of time, it was unusual to see a man marry for the first time at the age of 43, the youngest age that Samuel McCarley could have been if his marriage to Celia Franks was his first.

So it seems at least possible to me that Samuel McCarley, b 1775 in GA and died 1838 in TX, had a first wife. She may have been the "Ally" I keep finding in other family trees. Given the apparent familial connection between Moses and Elizabeth, I'm putting forth the hypothesis that Samuel and Ally McCarley were the parents of (at least) Moses b 1792, John b 1797 and Elizabeth born 1799. After Ally's death, Samuel remarried to Celia Franks and had 11 children with her.

Moses and Elizabeth "went west" to Pope Co., AR with their families in a large wagon party in 1838, and brother John stayed behind in Tennessee.

If anyone has constructive thoughts, I welcome them.

I am happy to look at any documentation - Tennessee census and land records were deliberately burned in the War of 1812, so the earliest you can get at all on Tennessee of that sort of record begins in 1818 (registered voters)...I've been hunting for documentation of the Moses/Elizabeth connection since 2003.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-23 11:23 am

Searching for Mary C Dunn

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.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-05 10:16 pm

Amanuensis Monday

Just about every researcher of the Burris line that starts with William Burris born about 1782 would give his/her eyeteeth to be able to find the identities of William Burris' parents.

They remained unidentified in 1937, according to a letter I found in the Burriss/Burress/Burris family folder at the Lawrence Co., TN Archives.

The letter was written (or more likely, dictated) by William Andrew Burris, son of James Littleton Burris, and grandson of the elusive William. In 1937, William Andrew would have been 84 years old - he died six years later in Oklahoma.

Settled in Pennsylvania. Scotch Irish. Sent to Virginia. My grandfather William Burris was a in-denture boy. There he lost trace of his people. Was taken to Lawrenceburg Tenn. There he raised his family and died there.

Children all borned in Tenn. John Burris, Frank Burris, Jonathan Burris, Richard Burris, Carle Burris, James Burris and Sinday Burris whom married a Mason. Nancy Burris whom married a Wiggs. They was another girl whose name I do not have.

John Burris went to Pope Co., Ark. Nov. 1839. His family consist of 3 boys Bill, Frank, John and 3 girls.

Jonathan Burris went to Reelfoot Lake Kentuckey. His family consisted of 3 boys, Stan, Wily and Hue.

Richard stayed in Tenn. One boy Henry and one girl.

Carle moved to Bates Co., MO and died there. His family consist of 6 boys. Lonzo, Toney, Max, James, John and William.

James moved to Pope Co., Ark. His family consist of 6 boys. Frank, John, Bill, George, Jeff and Dick. 3 girls.

Frank moved to Pope Co., Ark. His family consist of 3 boys John, Bill and James. They were 3 girls.

They was one uncle who went to Texas that was lost track of.

This July 2, 1937
By William Andrew Burris


There were two things I learned from this letter.

Counter to oral family history, Jonathan Burris did not drown while crossing the Mississippi River with his brothers during their 1838 emigration from Lawrence Co to Pope Co., AR.

William Burris' parentage has always been a mystery in the family.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-10-31 06:19 pm

Mary C Dunn Callaway Williams

She is my great great grandmother.

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She is also my most challenging "brick wall."

All the historic documents say she was born in Georgia, but that is as far as it goes. She was born 5 January 1849, and died at the age of 80, on 9 April 1929. According to her obituary, she was blind for several years before her death.

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I have never been able to find out the identities of her parents and/or siblings. I hoped to find out by reviewing her death certificate. The informant for the certificate was Mary's son, Ruben Ned Williams. On it, Ned said Mary's father's name was Mr. Dunn. He did not know what her mother's name was.

And I don't believe that.

Mary was first married to my great great grandfather, Allen Mason Lowery Callaway. They married on 8 September 1866 in Clark Co., AR. Because Mary was still a minor, the family she lived with gave permission for, and witnessed her marriage. But they were not named in the marriage certificate.

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Mace Callaway died on 15 February 1877, leaving Mary and their daughter, Julia Ann Callaway. I have found no evidence of other children borne to them - either live or stillbirths.

On 13 July 1878, Mary Dunn Callaway married David Andrew Williams in Clark Co., AR. David was a widower himself, and had a daughter from his marriage to Martha L Canady, named Mary Etta (Marietta) Williams. He and Mary had two sons, Ruben Ned and William Andrew Williams, before he died on 23 January 1888 in Clark County.

Mary's granddaughter, Addie Louise Herrington Burris, was my paternal grandmother. Mary lived with my grandmother when Louise was a child, and all my life, I was told by my grandmother that Mary was her "Indian grandmother." There were two members of my family who felt that while my grandmother did not intentionally lie, she was mistaken about Mary's ethnic origins.

One of my aunts took a DNA test several months ago to try and resolve the issue of Mary's ethnic origins.

Grandma was right about that.