dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-27 18:24

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

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?

Photobucket


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.