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dee_burris: (Default)
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 07:16 pm
I read the obituaries in my local paper almost every day. In particular, I watch for selected towns - Atkins, Russellville, Pottsville, Arkadelphia, Okolona, Amity...

At least once a week, I find someone in my GEDCOM.

It's gratifying to be able to follow someone from cradle to grave. Even if I didn't know the individual in life, at least some vital details about that person now survive in a way others can search out and find.

I upload my GEDCOM at Rootsweb because as of now, people can search it and read the search results for free.

Now, if I can just find the maiden surnames of a bunch of women...
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dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, December 31st, 2011 08:39 am
These are the obituaries for my great-great grandparents, Eada Belle Parrish (1859-1944) and Fred Chapin (1858-1938).
Fred Chapin

Fred Chapin, 80, of 913 North Valmar street, died at a Little Rock hospital at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. He is survived by his wife, a daughter, Mrs. V C Balding of Little Rock; a sister, Mrs. Essie Finn of Altoona, Pa.; seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at the P H Ruebel & Co. chapel at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the charge of the Rev. Hay Watson Smith. Burial will be in Oakland cemetery. Pallbearers will be Joe D Williams, E V Balding, R Ellington Balding, and Marvin Balding.
Published on Friday, 30 Dec 1938, in the Arkansas Gazette
Mrs. Eada B Chapin
Octogenarian Dies.

Mrs. Eada B Chapin, aged 85, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. V C Balding of 217 Denison street, at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. She had been a resident of Little Rock for 50 years. Also surviving are seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at the Ruebel Funeral Home at 10 a.m. Monday by the Rev. Marion A Boggs. Burial will be in Oakland cemetery. Pallbearers will be W L Terry, L C Gring, J S Holtzman, W M Brandon, J D Williams and Lt. Eugene Balding.
Published on Sunday, 3 Dec 1944, in the Arkansas Gazette
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, December 30th, 2011 08:31 am
I spent some time at the Arkansas History Commission yesterday, scrolling through microfilm of old newspapers to find some more obituaries.

I found the one for my paternal great grandmother, Mary Mathilda Wharton, but not for her husband, George Washington Burris, Sr.
Funeral Friday for Mrs. Mary M Burris
Mrs. Mary Matilda Burris, 72 years old, long time resident of Pope county, died Thursday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs. W T Crites, rural route 3, Atkins, Ark.

Mrs. Burris was born at Anderson, Ala., and came to Pope county when she was 17 years old. She had lived in Russellville until a short time ago. Mrs. Burris was the wife of the late George Burris, former postmaster at Russellville.

In addition to the daughter, survivors include six sons, Ernest Burris, Conway; Homer Burris, Hensley; Richard Burris, Atkins; Walter Burris, Short Okla.; George Burris, Arkadelphia; and a brother, Ed Whorton (sic), Walnut Creek, Calif.

Funeral service was conducted Friday at 3 p.m. at the St. Joe cemetery, north of Atkins by Rev. F M Hudson, Free Will Baptist minister, assisted by Rev. W R Jobe. Arrangements were directed by the Shinn and Son Funeral Home of Russellville.

Published on Thursday, 2 Jun 1938, in the Russellville Courier-Democrat
I learned two things from this obit.

I knew Mary was born in Alabama, but now I have a town and county.

I didn't know she died at Aunt Emma's house.
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, February 11th, 2011 10:38 pm
His obituary was published in The Daily Hawk-Eye Gazette) (Burlington, IA) on 11 Aug 1934.

Funeral Services For Frank Shephard Held at Church in Mt. Union
Special to the Hawk-Eye Gazette

Mt. Union, Ia., Aug. 11.—Funeral services for Frank Shephard were held at the Baptist church Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock. Rev. C. A. Droz of Iowa City officiated, assisted by Rev. W. Williams of New Hampton, Ia., both being former pastors of the church here. They were assisted by Rev. Stevens, pastor of the M. E. church. Interment was made in the Scott Township cemetery near Winfleld.

Those attending the funeral from a distance were Mr. Sherman Shephard, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Witt and daughter, Betty Lou, of Sedalia, Mo.; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shephard of Olds, Ia.; Mr. Harry Bolar, Merle, and Geraldine of New London, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Despain, Mrs. Ed Binder and son, all of Burlington; Mrs. H. L. Donovan of Burlington and Mrs. Addie Beauchamp of Winfield.


Note: The Scott Township Cemetery near Winfield is now called the Winfield and Scott Cemetery, and is located near Winfield, in Henry Co., IA.

I figured I would find him there.
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, December 25th, 2010 10:23 pm
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
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, December 18th, 2010 05:05 pm
This afternoon, I found the old news clipping that describes the death of Ward Chapin on 18 Sep 1894 at Fort Brown, Texas. It's pretty graphic, as I have come to expect from older obituaries.

FORT BROWN ITEMS
The Sad Death of Private Chapin
Other items

The funeral of Ward Chapin a private of Troop K, 5th Cavalry who was drowned at the post yesterday afternoon took place this morning at 11 o clock a m. He was buried with military honors. The entire garrison attended the funeral. His grave was covered by many and beautiful floral offerings sent by his comrades and friends.

Ward Chapin was born at Olean New York state. He enlisted in the service of the United States at Fort Scott Kansas on Jan 23 1893 and was 22 years of age. The circumstances of his sad death is deeply regretted by his comrades who used every means in their power to save him but were unfortunately unsuccessful. There is every reason to believe that he was seriously injured if not fatally before he disappeared from the surface of the water, as there are the imprints of the horse's hoofs on his chest where his horse must have struck him in his struggle to free himself from the drowning man. One of these imprints is directly over the heart which if not fatal must have rendered him unconscious.

This young man was a faithful soldier and his character and morals wore of the highest standards, an example to his comrades and all who were thrown in contact with him. His memory will be long cherished by his comrades and their deepest sympathy is extended to his bereaved relatives.

As a result of yesterday's sad accident there will be no more swimming of horses in the lagoon excepting under the direct supervision of the troop commanders.


Okay, that tells me he was buried at the fort. So I went looking for that cemetery, and found this instead.


This Military cemetery, once located on the "island" of Ft. Brown, held the remains of the military soldiers stationed at the fort. Their remains were removed and moved to Alexandria, Louisiana and reinterred in the National Cemetery there in 1911. The contractor for this removal was N.E. Rendall. The headstones were not moved with the bodies. Mr. Rendall sold the headstones and some of these headstones are the foundations for some of the buildings in Brownsville. One of these buildings was the Nebraska Apartments that was located between 13th and 14th streets on Jefferson street.
(The link in that article for the cemetery at Pineville is dead.)

So I went looking in Rapides Parish, LA. There is no record of him there, and the VA's Nationwide Gravesite Locator doesn't have him either.

So I wonder - what happened to my second great grand uncle's remains?
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 07:36 pm
As I have researched the people in my family tree, my heart has gone out to quite a few of them. But probably none more so than David Andrew Williams.

I am not even related to him by blood. He was the second (and final) husband of my g-g-grandmother, Mary C Dunn.

I'm not going to pretend David was an angel. There's a fair amount of evidence that he wasn't.

But whether you call it fate, destiny, karma, or just plain bad luck, it seems to me that the deck was stacked against him. I have to wonder how much of it came from Momma, since my impression of her (*not* confirmed by anyone or any document) was that she was an iron willed woman who ran roughshod over anyone she could, and wrote her own version of family history to suit her own sense of self-righteous importance.

David was born in Hardin County, TN to Wright Williams and Lucinda H Clem on 28 Sep 1845. He was the middle kid of three, having an older brother, William H, and younger sister, Lucinda, who was born on 24 Apr 1847.

His dad died in 1847 - I don't know whether it was before or after Lucinda Jr was born. But Lucinda Sr did not remain a widow for long.

In 1848, she hitched her wagon to Lorenzo Hitchcock, a self-made man and a widower 23 years her senior. By 1860, they moved to Clark County, AR from Hardin County, TN., and Lorenzo continued his trade of metal work, employing his wife's oldest son in his shop. Several of Lucinda's family members, including her parents and younger brother, James Mason Clem, lived in nearby Hot Spring County.

By 1870, the clan moved to Arkadelphia, the largest town in and county seat of Clark County. Additionally, provision was made for Lucinda's sons to also have homes, conveniently located next door to Momma and step-dad, as both William and David were married.

It was not David Andrew Williams' first marriage.


On 24 Apr 1865, tragedy struck Lucinda Hitchcock's extended family, as it had so many other families of the era. Her brother, James Mason Clem, died of disease at the end of his Civil War service in Little Rock, Pulaski County, AR. He left a widow, Delilah (Gibbs) Clem, and at least four minor children. (James and Delilah had eight children together before his death.)

Obviously, Lucinda's widowed sister-in-law needed some help. Now who would be a suitable husband for her?

Enter David Andrew Williams.

In 1867, 22 year-old David Andrew Williams married his maternal aunt, 42 year-old Delilah (Gibbs) Clem, and became an instant father to his cousins, the oldest of whom was two years younger than he was.

I am not customarily a person who gets squicky about the family tree stuff. I blithely enter all those marriages of cousins, usually muttering under my breath the reminder that in those days, statistics showed people rarely married people farther than a five mile radius from home, and that was likely to be kin.

But this one just had ick written all over it for me.

And it may well have for David, too. He and Aunt Delilah were married long enough for her to bear him a son, William Wright Clem Williams, born 16 Dec 1867 in Hot Spring County, AR.

She sued him for divorce in Hot Spring County Court, which was granted 11 Mar 1869, on the grounds of "violence and drunkenness." Delilah had custody of their son.

I don't know about violence, but I think I mighta gotten drunk, too.

Why do I see Momma's hand in this, from the marriage all the way to the name of the grandchild?


Violence and drunkenness aside, it was a really fast courtship for David and wife #2, Martha L Dunn. She and David married on 27 Jun 1869 in Clark County, and by the June 1870 census, they had a one year-old daughter, Marietta Williams.

That was a weird census to puzzle through. Aside from David and his brother William living in the two houses next to their mother, the census showed David and William living together, and their wives, Martha and Sallie, living next to them with Marietta.

I finally got some help from one of David's direct descendants.

Martha Williams had consumption. She may have been quarantined in one of the houses, with Sallie Williams going back and forth.

Martha Dunn Williams died on 2 Nov 1876 of tuberculosis. Marietta either escaped the illness, or was treated successfully.

In any event, David Andrew Williams was now a widower with a six year-old daughter.


I don't know how David met my g-g-grandmother. All the records show that they lived in two different townships, and had two completely different lifestyles.

Mary Callaway was Baptist, David's family was Methodist. Mary was country - David was a city boy. (In the 1870 census, he did say he was a farmer, which was another oddity...I cannot figure out where in Arkadelphia *town* he was doing any farming.)

They did have one thing in common. Each of them had been widowed - David in 1876, and Mary in 1877 - and each had a young daughter.

They married on 13 Jul 1878 in Clark County. The 1880 census shows them living in Greenville Township in Clark County, and David is a famer. Both their daughters, Marietta Williams and Julia Ann Callaway, are listed in the household, as well as a 17 year-old farmhand named Cicero Smith.

They added two sons to their family - Ruben Ned Williams, born 14 Nov 1881, and William Andrew Williams, born 13 Nov 1882.

It looked like things were turning around for David Andrew Williams.


In 1884, David was slowly struck with some sort of creeping paralysis. According to his obituary, it began in his hands.

Reading the obit, it sounds to me like polio. But apparently, no one else got it. Maybe ALS?

Here is the obituary, published in the Southern Standard on 10 Feb 1888.

Williams, David Andrew, was born in Hardin Co. Tenn. Sept 28,1845. He was married to Mary C. Callaway July 13, 1878. His affliction was paralysis. In 1884 it began in his hands and gradually diffused itself through his whole system. His long affliction and the peculiarity of his case might have been much profit to the medical fraternity had it watched the stages of his disease. His affliction was four years and five months standing. His flesh all virtually perished away. The last two years of his illness he was entirely helpless. In the year 1855 he professed religion and joined the Methodist Church, and died in peace January 23, 1888 aged 43 years, 4 months and 15 days. He was the son of Mrs. Lucinda Hitchcock.

Okay, say I am perseverating, but I see Momma in this one, too.

Where is any mention of his kids? Or his step-daughter, who lived in the home until her marriage in 1891?

He had *four* kids, all living at the time of his death.

His wife gets a mention, but his mother wraps it up.

And...his mother carted his earthly remains over two townships to bury him in the Methodist cemetery, rather than lay him to rest 1/2 mile down the road from his home, where his widow and one of his sons, along with grandchildren, later would be buried.

In those days, traveling that distance for a burial wasn't easy.


My g-g-grandmother was 39 and a widow for the second time. She died 41 years later, still the widow of David Andrew Williams.

Maybe she didn't want to risk becoming a widow again.

Or maybe, she didn't want to risk another mother-in-law from hell...


Looking forward to meeting you on the other side, David.
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 06:31 pm
Russellville Courier Democrat, 3 Nov 1898:

Mr. Josiah Womble one of Pope County's oldest and best citizens died at his home in Bayliss Township Monday Oct 24th. He was perhaps the oldest educator in the county, having been an active and prominent teacher back in 1860 and '62. Mr. R Hogins and Jno R. Young of our city are some of the many prominent men of our county who were his pupils during the time of this good old man's days of usefulness. Peace to his ashes.