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dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, October 9th, 2011 03:19 pm
I use Familysearch a lot for Texas death records.

I was doing some work on a neglected leg of my Burris bunch - and found a death record for my second cousin, once removed.
Effie Estelle Rankin was the daughter of William Wilson Rankin and Mary Jane Jones.

She was an old maid schoolteacher, and died at the age of 74, eight days after her birthday in 1962 in Collingsworth County, TX.

When I look at death certificates for someone that old, I expect to see death by heart attack, cancer or stroke.

Not because the car you were riding in pulled out in front of a train, and death was caused by a fractured skull and broken neck.
I haven't been able to find a newspaper article to find out if she was driving or was a passenger.
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)
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?