dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, December 27th, 2010 06:24 pm
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)
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 09:16 am
Last spring, my dad called me and said there was going to be a tour of the old McCarley family cemetery on Saturday, March 27. The cemetery is abandoned now - I think the last grave dug in there was before 1900. The first one I know of was in 1847, when Moses McCarley's wife, Elizabeth P Griffin, died. As the crow flies, the cemetery is less than 3 miles from Dad's house.

There are at least 50 (mostly unmarked) graves. Some of our ancestors who came to Arkansas from Lawrence County, TN in 1838 are buried there, including my g-g-g-grandfather. I've been bugging Dad for years to tell me how to get down there, but it would have meant getting mixed up in a family feud.

The land where the cemetery is located now belongs to a third cousin-in-law of mine, and he has most of it fenced. We have a healthy respect for the symbolism of fences in the south, and honorable people ask if they can cross to the other side.

In my cousin-in-law's case, that means asking to open (and close behind you) a lot of gates.

And then, there was that matter of the feud...they are serious stuff down here.  )

Because they have stories. And we are the story-tellers.