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Photobucket decided I could no longer host my photos there. They want $399/year for that privilege.

So I will pay - another website. One tenth of that price.

Please bear with me as I transfer multiple photos to the new account, coming soon.

This will take a while.
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Burris clan in Russellville, Pope Co., AR, circa 1920/1921

There's a wall of photographs over my bed. I call it my dead relatives gallery, and I'm not really joking, although some of my family and friends laugh nervously when I say it.

I'm using this journal to share information I have acquired over the past several years for surnames in my family tree. The journal is "tag intensive" to make it easier to locate information and photos about specific surnames. (Tags list is in the left sidebar of the journal.)

They say you can choose your friends, but not your family. Personally, I find my family fascinating, and even more so the older I get. Sure, we have our share of archetypes - shrill, bossy women...strong "silent type" men...and the requisite number of "crazies." But hey, this is the deep South, and as Julia Sugarbaker said in Designing Women:

"...we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on." Like Julia, mine are on both sides.

Primary surnames researched include Ashmore, Balding, Burris, Callaway, Chapin, Darter, Duvall, Grooms, Harkey, Hayslip, Herrington, Hill, Holder, McBrayer, Meek, Parrish, Pettit, Shinn, Wharton, Williams.

All comments are welcome, including anonymous comments. You do not have to be a Dreamwidth member to comment, and may use Open ID, i.e., Google, WordPress, etc., to comment.

ETA: Most of the photos you will find in this journal were taken over 100 years ago. Regardless of their age, these photos were falling out of albums, or lying loose among family papers and I have scanned them to preserve them for posterity. Photos of gravestones appearing in this journal were taken by me.

I said all that to say this - if any of these photos are of your family members, just right click and save them to your computer. No one associated with this journal is going to chase you down to try and prosecute you for copyright infringement, as long as you don't claim you took the photo.

© Dee Burris Blakley, 2010-2019. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dee Burris Blakley with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Email me at sharpchick13 at hotmail dot com.
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It's taken almost 7 years, but I finally found the parents of my great great grandmother, Catherine Mueller.

In 1832, Georg Jacob Mueller and Eva Elisabetha Hemberle moved their family from Blankenloch, Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany to the United States. They left Bremen aboard the ship Elisabeth and disembarked at New York on 5 Sep 1832. Georg Muller paid for his ticket - he was not sponsored. His destination when he left Germany was the United States of America. Accompanying Georg and Elisabetha were daughters Christine (age 11), Catherine (age 5), Elisabeth (age 2) and son, Jakob (age 6 months).

According to this website:
...For most German emigrants going to America during these years, Bremerhaven was the major port of departure. It would become port to 7 million emigrants leaving Europe between 1832 and 1874.

The first leg of an emigrant’s journey would have been the trip to Bremen itself by train or in a coach. Some poorer emigrants had to reach Bremen by foot. Many had never even set foot out of their small villages before, and just making this step was in itself a life-changing experience. Once in Bremen, most would stay at an inn and take in the sights...

From Blankenloch north to Bremen is 566.57 km, or 352.05 miles. That trip takes 5 and a half hours by car today. I have no idea how it took Georg and Elisabetha Mueller to get to Bremen in 1832, but my guess it that at least one overnight stay at an inn or making camp would have been required.

Once in Bremen (Bremerhaven), there was a three day journey on a river barge traveling down the Weser River to board their ship.
...The new harbor of Bremerhaven received its first customer in 1830, the American schooner Draper.

When Bremerhaven first opened, passengers would have to travel for miles down the Weser River from Bremen to Bremerhaven on crowded river barges, a journey taking three days, until they were brought to the side of their large sailing ship. The final stretch to the ship could only be taken during ebb tide, when water from the arm of the Weser flowed toward the North Sea...
Sourced to the website above.

Once the ship left the harbor, it was weeks before America appeared in the immigrants' sight. The ship sailed into the North Sea and on to the English Channel, then out into the Atlantic Ocean.I don't know where the family settled after arriving in New York. I couldn't find them in the 1850 census. I do know that Catherine Mueller married a man named Bashett or Baskett before she married my great great grandfather Jacob Williams on 1 Oct 1846 in Shelby Co., KY.

I found Georg and Elisabetha Mueller in 1860 in Jackson, Monroe Co., PA. Living with them were a son William and a granddaughter Amelia (shown as Emma in the 1870 and 1880 censuses), both born in Pennsylvania. William was 17 years old, so it seems that by 1843, the family must have been living in Pennsylvania.

The 1860 census also shows that the family had Anglicized their names. Georg Jacob Mueller became George J Miller. Eva Elisabetha Hemberle was now Elizabeth Miller.

Three of Georg and Elisabetha's children did not make the journey from Baden to America. Three small sons - Jacob Friendrich Mueller, Christian Mueller, and Johann Jacob Mueller - all died before the trip. The first two died in 1824, and Johann Jacob Mueller died in 1830. All of the infants died in Baden.

It was not uncommon in the 19th century for parents to "recycle" a child's name if an older sibling died very young. In this family, Johann Jakob Mueller had the same name as his brother born four years before he was.

The youngest of Georg and Elisabetha Mueller's children was Sarah A Miller, born in Monroe County, PA., on 23 Oct 1843. She married Henry H Marvin and they had two sons. Henry died in 1868. Sarah followed him in death in 1872. Her parents raised their sons, Ira and Steward, who were 7 and 8 years old at the time of their mother's death.

Eva Elisabetha Hemberle, daughter of Georg Martin Hemberle and Christina Zorn, died on 18 Sep 1870 in Monroe County. Georg Jacob Mueller died on 7 Sep 1885. They are buried in Saint John's Cemetery, Neola, Monroe Co., PA.

And at last I have found great great grandmother Catherine C Mueller Williams' parents.

Another brick in the wall is gone.
Then, in my everlasting quest to find all of the children of my great great grandfather James Littleton Burris' other family, I doubled down on Richard Hill, since he was the last remaining child I needed to find.

And I found him. And his children. (I already knew he was married to Annie P Moore, daughter of William Newton Moore and Delila Mexico Young.)

The Hill brothers always knew they were really Burrises. I already knew that James L Hill - whom I seriously believe was named James Littleton Burris, Jr at birth - used the Burris name until he was at least 40 years old, after which he gave up, moved to Oklahoma and gave his surname as Hill.

Ervin Burris used the Burris surname all his life.

So, I said to myself, what if Richard changed his surname from Hill to Burris?

I found that by the time of the 1910 census, that's exactly what he did.

The children - six of them I have been able to document - seem to have a mix of surnames, with the oldest three using Hill and the younger three using Burris. This information is found in census records, so I haven't been able to find out yet if they continued the use of their original surnames as adults. Except for son Marion Hill, who died at the age of 19 on 19 Dec 1915 when the family was living in Fort Smith.

Richard began using Richard H (for Hill, I think) Burris on census records. His gravestone in Holdenville Cemetery, Hughes Co., OK says Richard M. Burris. Annie's says Annie P Burris.

So there, great great granddaddy. Unless the universe throws out another of your secret children, I believe I found them all.

Persistence pays off.

The journey is good.
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I have often wondered about the life of Margaret Jane Burris.

I think she was much loved, my great grandaunt.

In the birth order of her siblings, Margaret was the seventh of ten children, sandwiched in between her brothers, George Washington Burris and Jefferson William Burris.

I think her brothers may have looked after her during the times she was widowed. They made sure to include her in the photo they had taken of themselves and their wives.

seated, l to r: George Washington Burris, Sr, Jefferson William Burris.
Standing, l to r: Mary Mathilda Wharton Burris, Margaret Malinda Wharton Burris, Margaret Jane Burris Jones Moore.

Margaret married for the first time when she was 16 years old. She married Abraham "Cass" Jones, the son of Shadrach Jones and Mary George. (Margaret's older sister, Nancy Elizabeth, married Cass' older brother, William Calvin Jones nine years earlier.)

Cass and Margaret farmed in Griffin Township, Conway County. They had two children - daughter Florrie, born in 1875, and Robert Lee, born in 1889.

That fourteen year age gap between Florrie and Lee made me wonder if Margaret had lost children. But in the 1900 census, taken when Margaret had been a widow for three years, she said she had borne two children, and both were living at the time of the census. She said the same thing in the 1910 census.
Margaret was widowed the first time when Cass Jones died in 1897 at the age of 44. Three years later, Margaret remarried to a widower named George Washington Moore, who had several children at home.

G W Moore died in 1936. Margaret was a widow for the remainder of her life. But she was still involved with her family, and for a period of time up to and including her death, lived with her son Lee in Fort Smith.

This photo, of my father as a four year old, was taken just prior to his Uncle Jeff's death in 1941. Uncle Jeff, Dad and Aunt Margaret - who was 83 at the time - posed for someone's camera, probably in Uncle Jeff's yard. (George Washington Burris, Sr. died in 1929, and Dad never knew his grandfather.)

Jefferson William Burris, William Frank Burris, and Margaret Jane Burris

Margaret Jane Burris Jones Moore died on 15 Jun 1944 of congestive heart failure at the home of her son, Lee Jones.

She was buried two days later at St. Joe Cemetery in Pope County, just as her parents and many of her siblings were.

You can leave a virtual flower on her Find a Grave memorial by clicking here.
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In early February this year, I got an email saying, I am researching James Otis Burris' son, Carl H Burris. US Air Force, went missing on Aug 28 1963. Have you heard of him?

The only information I had in my family tree database about Carl Burris was date and place of birth, date of marriages to two wives, date of death, burial location, and that he was the son of James Otis Burris and Hazel Etta Coffman.

But there was so much more.
At first, I wondered if Carl had been shot down in Vietnam. According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official beginning of American involvement in Vietnam was on 1 Nov 1955, when Pres. Eisenhower deployed the Military Assistance Advisory Group to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). By August 1963, after horrific attacks on protesting Buddhists by the ARVN, the US was threatening to withdraw aid to the South Vietnamese Special Forces if they were not sent into battle rather than repressing dissidents.

But that did not account for Carl Burris' disappearance. As is frequently the case, fact is stranger than fiction.
Newspaper accounts the day after Carl Burris' purported death help piece together the story.

From the Courier Post (Camden, NJ), 29 Aug 1963 at page 5:

Atlantic Is Searched For Two AF Jets Lost on Refueling Mission

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...A large force of planes and ships searched the Atlantic between the Bahamas and Bermuda today for two Air Force jet tankers missing on a refueling flight with 11 men aboard...The K135 aircraft, attached to the Strategic Air Command, were returning to quarters at Homestead Air Force Base south of Miami when radio contact was lost with them yesterday afternoon.

They had refueled in the air two B47 jets from Schilling AFB in Kansas. The B47s returned safely to Schilling...

Palladium Item (Richmond, IN), 29 Aug 1963 at page 2:

Two Jet Tankers Believed Down In Atlantic; 11 Aboard

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...The air force said the two tankers had enough fuel to remain airborne until about 7 p.m. EDT...

The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR), 29 Aug 1963, at page 2:

Plane Spots Oil Slick, Debris

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...Radio contact was lost about noon Wednesday as the huge tankers returned toward Homestead. At that time, they were 800 miles northeast of Miami, or about 300 miles west of Bermuda...
The area described in all the news reports I found is commonly known as the Bermuda Triangle. There have been many unexplained disappearances of all kinds of ships and aircraft, documented as far back as Columbus' description of strange lights, and the sea rising up suddenly when the water had been calm and smooth.

As I continued to search, I also found research attributed to Larry Kusche (a critic of the phenomenon of the Bermuda Triangle) that said...the unclassified version of the Air Force investigation report stated that the debris field defining the second "crash site" was examined by a search and rescue ship, and found to be a mass of seaweed and driftwood tangled in an old buoy...

And then I found this:

On 28 August 1963, two KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 19th Bomb Wing (then at Homestead AFB, FL), completed their scheduled Reflex 33 air refueling with B-47s from Schilling AFB, Kansas (both of which landed safely) when contact with them was lost. It is believed they were conducting navigation exercises when both disappeared over the Atlantic between Bermuda and Nassau, all eleven crew aboard the two jets were lost. Debris and oil slicks were found ~750 miles ENE of Miami, Florida. The search was suspended Monday night, 2 September 1963, when wreckage recovered by the Air Rescue Service, and the Coast Guard cutter Owasco, 34 is positively identified as being from the missing tankers.
Injuries: All 11 crew killed
Crew killed:
A/C: Capt Donald G. Edson, 30
A/C: Capt Richard A. Larson, 34, Minneapolis
Capt Allan C. Ferguson, 29
Capt Gerard A. Garner, 28, Lincoln, NE
Capt Keith R. Goffin, 29, Bellevue, IL
Capt Julius O. Womack, 30, Pioneer, LA
1Lt Melvin C. Pump, 29
Lt William E. Smith, 26, Memphis, TN
BO: MSgt Carl H. Burris, 39
BO: TSgt Ray L. Fish, 30
SSgt Lyle E. Overlees, 25

Source: Voices From an Old Warrior, Christopher J B Hoctor, (publ. Espresso Book Machine, Mizzou Bookstore, Mizzou Publishing, University of Missouri, 2013), at page 31.

In a footnote to his work, Mr. Hoctor says:
The author does not subscribe to the many myths associated with ‘The Bermuda Triangle’. Not all these losses were inexplicable, and the boundaries of the ‘triangle’ are not clearly defined. In fact, a similar ‘triangle’ could be laid over almost any part of the earth’s oceans, marking the area of many lost aircraft and ships that have not been solved.

Bully for him. I don't believe in coincidence. So I guess we're even.
There is a Boom Operator Memorial at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma on which are inscribed the names of the men who perished on 28 Aug 1963. I obtained written permission from the photographer to use his photo of the memorial for Carl Houston Burris' Find a Grave memorial noting his burial in Westlawn Memorial Cemetery, Grand Island, NE, and here in this blog entry. The Find a Grave memorial notes a section and plot for burial, so there must be a centotaph stone there, because Carl Burris' remains were never recovered.

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Photo of MSgt Carl Burris' name on the Boom Operator Memorial at Altus AFB in Oklahoma.
Photo used with written permission. The original can be found at this website.

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Close-up of inscription for MSgt. Carl H Burris

Maybe I'll find out the truth, if I meet Carl on the other side.
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Right before Thanksgiving last year, I got an email from a stranger.

He and his sister had been going through the contents of his mother's home, and found of box of photos that belonged to his paternal grandmother, Blanche Willis Beach. From what he could determine, it looked as if his grandmother and one of my far flung Chapin cousins, Augusta Genevieve Chapin, were good friends.

He sent a snapshot of a letter written to Blanche by Genevieve, along with a photo of her, taken when she was a teacher at American Baptist College in Shanghai, China.

Now, I needed to know more about her.
I already knew that Augusta Genevieve Chapin was the only child of Elmer Judson Chapin and Hannah Elizabeth Scott, and that she was born on 24 Feb 1876 in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., KS, where my direct ancestral line of Chapins had settled.

In 2011, I discovered a Find a Grave memorial for her, and so I knew she died in Greene Co., IL on 17 Oct 1932.

But I knew little else about her, although I now had a photo apparently taken later in her life, due to the kindness of a stranger.
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back of photo says Genevieve Chapin, teacher at American Baptist College in Shanghai China

From the Find a Grave memorial, I was pretty sure Genevieve had not been married. One of my questions was why she was buried in Greene Co., IL when her parents were buried in Fort Scott - in the same cemetery with my third great grandparents, Nathaniel Chapin and Elizabeth Harris.

The obvious answer to that question was that she died in Greene Co., IL, and there was not enough money to send her body back to Fort Scott.

But given this new news - that she taught at a college in Shanghai - I felt there must be a story behind this relative - another of my orphan relatives.*
And there was.

For most of her life, Genevieve lived with her parents in Fort Scott. The 1900 census, taken on 1 Jun 1900, showed that she was a schoolteacher. The 1905 Kansas state census, taken on 1 Mar 1905, stated that she was a clerk. That did not necessarily mean she had given up teaching school. March was the beginning of the planting season in rural Kansas, and schools often closed to allow children to help get the crops sown.

Genevieve's parents lived long lives, and died within a year and a half of each other. Elmer Judson Chapin died on 3 Mar 1923. Elizabeth McIntosh Chapin followed her husband in death on 13 Nov 1925.

But even while caring for her elderly parents, Genevieve had been actively engaged in her community, and was an advocate for social responsibility. And she had traveled.

In the summer of 1915, she went to Alaska for two weeks. The Fort Scott Daily Tribune and Fort Scott Monitor had a small article noting a talk Genevieve was to give to the Women's Current Topic Club about her trip on the evening of 31 Jan 1916.

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An article in the Springfield Missouri Republican, on 26 Oct 1921 (page 10), gave details of the speakers addressing the Pierian club in Fort Scott:
...Miss Genevieve Chapin spoke interestingly on social responsibility and unemployment..." The article went on to note that Genevieve was one of the delegates to the Second district convention later that year in November.
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It was after her parents' deaths that Genevieve traveled abroad. The List of United States Citizens sailing on 5 Oct 1929 aboard the S S Deutschland from Southampton to New York shows that Genevieve had been issued her US passport in Fort Scott on 29 Jun 1926 and had renewed the passport in Shanghai on 28 May 1928.

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She wrote her friend Blanche about her time in Shanghai. ...I am well, but carrying heavy work...

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So how was it that Genevieve died in Illinois? Two news articles published in the Jacksonville Daily Journal (Jacksonville, IL) cleared up that mystery.

From 1930 until her death, Genevieve had settled in New York, and had been doing welfare work for Grace House in New York City. At the time of her death, she was visiting her cousin, Edith Chapin. Edith lived in Jacksonville, IL. Genevieve had taken ill, and never recovered.

 photo Jacksonville_Daily_Journal__Jacksonville_IL__1_Dec_1932_p4_Genevieve_Chapin.jpg

 photo Jacksonville_Daily_Journal__Jacksonville__IL__18_Oct_1932_p1_Genevieve_Chapin_death_notice.jpg

Everyone has a story. I am very glad that through the kindness of a stranger, I was able to piece together at least a part of the story of this eighth cousin, a woman I would like to have known.

Maybe I'll meet her on the other side.

*I call my relatives who died with no direct descendants orphan relatives, as there often is no one to tell their stories.
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Some Calloway cousins I never even knew I had came knocking...

A brother and two of his sisters, as well as one of his first cousins.

They are descendants of William Arnett Calloway and Fannie N Mahar/Maher. They use the variant spelling of the surname with an O instead of an A. William Arnett's surname on his gravestone is spelled C A L L A W A Y, so I expect either his son changed the spelling or the gravestone carver made an error.

I've spent some of the weekend talking on the phone, texting and emailing with all of them, who suspected when they found my online family tree that we must be related.

We are fourth cousins, 1X removed - or so says the relationship calculator in my genealogy database. Our common ancestors are John S T Callaway and Amy Stamps.

I've told them the story of the inauspicious beginnings of our eldest ancestor on this soil, Peter Callaway, and how a bastard child gave rise to the colonial dynasty that is now known by the Callaway Family Association as the Peter line.

There are already some twists, turns and a couple of brick walls in their extended families.

Let's start with Fannie N Mahar/Maher. I cannot for the life of me find her parents. I'm beginning to think she hatched.

But I expect it's more likely that her surname has been badly misspelled.

I'm delighted to be able to add C A L L O W A Y to my tags list.
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I've written before about my first cousin, 4X removed, Jonathan Wilson Callaway.

I think I'd like to have known him in real life, but I expect we may not have gotten on. I just bet Jonathan preferred demure women whose opinions mirrored his own.

Anyway, I figured from the date of the purchase of cemetery plots at Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park by his widow that Jonathan probably died in May 1894.

So it was good to stumble upon the letters of administration from his estate in the Clark Co., AR probate books.

He died on 2 May 1894, the same day Annie Vickers bought the plots at Oakland.
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I've updated his Find a Grave memorial.
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Yesterday at the reunion, my cousin Doug Burris hauled out his box of old photographs to see if I could help him ID any of them. (I was pretty useless on his unknown photos.)

In that box were some real gems, not the least of which was an old tintype photo of Uncle Jeff (Jefferson William Burris, 1860-1941).
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When I got home and started trying to date it, it reminded me of the one of GW Burris Sr., Uncle Jeff's older brother.
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I think they sat for their photos at or around the same time. I always thought great granddad looked awful young in his tintype photo, so I hauled out my book, "Dressed for the Photographer," by Joan Severa) and had a look at men's clothing styles in the 1870s.

Based on coat length (a shortened version of what was known during the 1860s as a "sack coat"), type of tie, GW Sr.'s hat, and the pose the photographer had them both using, I'm going to date both photos from 1874-1877 (when GW Sr. got married).

Tintype photographs had their heyday during the Civil War, but were produced for up to 40 years after that. These photos were the type and size that would have been purchased during a carnival or fair. Perhaps the Pope County Fair?

Cousins, right click and save as you wish.
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I saw cousins I hadn't seen since I was a kid.

I counted 44 people. Some of them were in the shadows in the group photo.
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It's a shame we didn't have enough to eat. (The dessert table was around the corner in the dining room.)
 photo 4.jpg

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 photo 10.jpg

 photo 9.jpg

 photo 8.jpg

 photo Norma Jean Burris Jones Cupit.jpg

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 photo McKayla rings the church bell at St Joe.jpg

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I've written before about looking for one thing, and finding another.

And so it was with Ollie Mable Kinzie.

I was at the Arkansas History Commission in mid-May, plowing through microfilm of old newspapers in 1914, and stumbled upon a very sad story. That story started me on a quest.
Little Rock - "No home, no money, no friends, and can't get work." In that terse, tear stained sentence she had hastily scrawled on a piece of paper which lay on the bed beside the body of pretty Mable Kinzie who had taken her own life in a rooming house at 215 West Third street at 12:00 o'clock Thursday afternoon is told the pathetic story of hardships, loneliness and final desperation that drove the friendless girl to swallow the contents of a vial of carbolic acid.

"I have been wandering friendless and penniless for weeks, and when my money ran out I could think of no other recourse by which to better this scheme of life than destroying it," read the farewell message. "My friends were not friends in times of trouble.The world was sweet when all went well, when I had money and work, but the cup of bitterness has blighted whatever sweetness there is in life for me and this is my time to leave." The letter was addressed to her sister, Mrs. Frank Bentley, at the Barnfield house, Texarkana.

"Miss Kinzie came to my house Monday afternoon," said Mrs. Willie O'Connor, who conducts the rooming house, "and paid me for one night and left her grip in the hall Tuesday afternoon when she went out in search of work. She didn't come back Tuesday night. Yesterday afternoon, I saw a light in the room she had formerly occupied. I knew that it should not be lighted at that time of day and went in the room not expecting to find anyone there.

"I saw Miss Kinzie lying on the bed, and supposing she was only asleep went over to the bed and began to shake her, and then I noticed the paleness of her face and called to her but she did not answer. Then I saw the note and thinking she might be saved I called a doctor who said she was dead. She couldn't have been dead very long when I entered the room."

Source: Southern Standard, Thursday, 14 May 1914.
But even in death, Mable appeared to have no friends.

Couldn't Find Work; In Despair Ended Her life
Lifeless Form of Mabel Kinzie Still at Morgue

The body of pretty Mabel Kinzie, who ended her life Wednesday afternoon at 215 West Third street by swallowing the contents fo a bottle of carbolic acid because she was without funds, friendless and could not obtain work, still lies unclaimed at the Healey & Roth morgue.

In a note to her sister, Mrs. Frank Bentley of Texarkana, she said that her reason for taking her life was, "No home, no money, no friends, and can't get work." This sister was notified and said that her husband, Frank Bentley, would arrive in Little Rock yesterday afternoon to take charge of the body, but at a late hour last night Mr. Bentley had not appeared.

It is said that the girl is a native of Missouri and that her parents are living there now. Wednesday night Bentley did not announce the home of the girl's parents, and it is the belief of the local authorities that they have never been notified of their daughter's death, as no word has come from them.

The verdict of the coroner's jury last night was that the girl committed suicide. The investigation was conducted by Deputy Coroner Frank Martin.

Source: Arkansas Gazette, Friday, 8 May, 1914
So now, I wondered if Mable was one of the people buried in a pauper's grave at Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park - at that time, still the City Cemetery.

After waiting for two months for the Arkansas Department of Health to get its act together on the printing of the 1914 death certificate - apparently you have to have a special printer for those, and theirs needed parts, to which I finally said, PRINT THE FRICKING CERTIFICATE ALREADY! - I got it.

The Gazette must have gone to print before Mable's body was sent - probably by train - to Webb City, Missouri on 8 May 1914.

There are two cemeteries in Webb City, which is in Jasper County, the county of her birth in 1892. Her death certificate says she was born in Independence, and that she was 22 years old. The informant for the certificate was her sister, Mrs. Frank Bentley, who didn't know her own sister's date of birth.

One of those cemeteries is the Webb City Cemetery, and the other is Mount Hope Cemetery. I cannot find a grave for her, even using alternate surname spellings, in either cemetery. It's possible the grave was not marked, or it was and an online record of it just doesn't exist.

But I do know who her parents were - Charles Henry Kinzie and Mary A Kants/Koonts, both born in Indiana. I found Ollie Mable Kinzie living with her father and step-mother in the 1910 census in Carterville Ward 1, Jasper Co., MO. I know she had an older brother named John, but I can't find out what happened to him after the 1880 census.
By now, I am very curious about why it took so long for someone from Mable's extended family to claim her body. Why she found herself nearly 300 miles from home, alone in Little Rock, AR, without friends and not a penny to her name.

And I want to find her grave.
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As was the custom of the time in which he lived, my great great grandfather, Fred Chapin, came from a large family. Ten documented children, nine of whom lived to adulthood.

Fred's sisters have given me fits. (And to be fair, so has one of the brothers.) I've looked into the lives and wanderings of Essie and Addie. I have a date of death and burial place for the next-to-youngest sister, Immogene (Emma) Chapin.

So I thought I was done. Until a chance comment on my Facebook page by one of my Parrish cousins, wanting to know if any of the descendants of the transplanted Fort Scott Chapins were till in the area, as she planned to make a trip there.

As I looked over the siblings of Fred Chapin and their children, I could only think of one - the only living child of Immogene Chapin and William H Nutz.

Helen Leotia Nutz. What had happened to her?

As I started looking more closely at her, things started getting complicated and mysterious.

And I ran into another sad story.
Helen Leotia Nutz was born on 17 Aug 1890 in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., KS.

I know this from the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 on (Due to some adjustments in the budget here at the cottage I now access Ancestry from the public library.)

However, that source also muddied the water quite a bit for tracking the whereabouts of my first cousin, thrice removed, because it also gave the following name changes for her, but no date of death. Based on name changes on her Social Security record, she had three husbands: Devault (March 1938), Yocum (August 1940) and Roach (May 1943), when she changed her name on her Social Security card.

However, I know her first marriage was at the age of 15 (she turned 16 nine days after the marriage), with the consent of her legal guardian (and paternal aunt) Susanna (Susan) N. Nutz, with whom Helen was living in the 1900 census in Kansas City, Jackson Co., MO. She married William K Gleason on 8 Aug 1905. I have not had any luck to date finding him either. I suspect the reason for the marriage was probably pregnancy, but that is purely speculation on my part.

So I tried to find a Helen Gleason getting married to a man with the surname DeVault in Jackson County, MO, and came up with this instead:
Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-2002
Name: Helen Gleason
Marriage Date: 17 Dec 1914
Marriage Place: Jackson, Missouri
Registration Place: Jackson, Missouri, USA
Spouse:  Edward Farrell

I don't know that this is Helen Leotia Nutz, but it sure complicates things. If it is Helen, then this marriage also would have occurred before the Social Security Act was passed by Congress as part of the New Deal, and signed by Franklin D Roosevelt on 14 Aug 1935.
Since the two marriages above for which I could find records took place in Jackson Co., MO, and since that's where she was living in 1900 with her single aunt, Susan N Nice, I thought maybe Helen and her aunt Susan were still close.

I wasn't having any luck finding Helen under any of those surnames throughout the remaining census years of 1910, 1920, 1920 and 1940. I changed course and decided to track Aunt Susan instead.
Many family historians feel that in order to accurately document folks in the family tree, one must have access to historic records through (mostly) subscription services like, for historic newspapers, etc.

And those are helpful. Ancestry has outpaced the free LDS church ( on obtaining scans of marriage records, wills and probate records, etc., but familysearch is highly useful.

And so is a plain old Google search. That's how I found out who Susanna Nice Nutz - Helen's paternal aunt - was, the identity of her parents, and how her life ended.

It was clear from census records that after Susanna Nutz gave consent for her niece's marriage in August 1905, the two did not live together again.

Although I haven't found Helen after the 1900 census, I did find Susanna. Helen was not part of her household in either of those censuses.
Susanna Nice Nutz was born on 21 Aug 1837 in Ohio to Leonard Nice Nutz and Rebecca Clutch. She was the eldest of the children of Leonard Nutz in his first marriage.

I found that information from a website talking about an invention for which Leonard Nutz received a patent. Leonard as an engineer, and for at least ten years, the family lived in St. Louis. On 17 Aug 1858, Leonard Nice Nutz received a patent for a "single column adding device." The article goes on to talk about Leonard's family history, including both his marriages and identifying most of his children.

In 1845, Susanna's mother died, probably in Ohio. Her father remarried to Susan Catherine Cochran on 27 Nov 1846 in Hamilton Co., OH. Leonard Nice Nutz died on 16 Nov 1870 in Alton, Madison Co., IL.

To date, I haven't been able to find Susanna Nutz in the 1850, 1860 or 1870 censuses. She was not living in her father's home in the 1865 Illinois State census or the US census of 1870. I found her next in 1880, living in Leavenworth, KS. She boarded with the family of Charles Kunz, and I suspect that may actually have been Nutz, but haven't tracked that family to find out for sure.

Susanna was a dressmaker. Never married, she was a single woman making her way in the world at a time when "spinsters" were supposed to be living in their parental home, and raising their younger siblings when their parents died.

Helen Nutz's mother died in 1892. As stated above, Helen was living with her aunt and legal guardian (I suspect grand aunt) in 1900 in Kansas City, where Susanna Nutz was working as a dressmaker. Apparently, Helen was still living with Susanna when she married for the first time in 1905. Minimally, Susanna Nice Nutz was a mother figure to Helen for thirteen years, supporting her financially and making a home for her.

After 1905, Helen disappeared from the historic record radar. However, Susanna continued to live in Kansas City, working as a dressmaker, through the 1920 census, taken on 5 Jan 1920.

And that Google search brought gold. Susanna Nice Nutz was also an inventor, like her father. On 28 Mar 1905, she was granted a patent for "new and useful Improvements in Adjustable Measuring and Ruling Devices..." Below is a drawing of her improved adjustable measuring and ruling device, which she said was to help quilters cut uniform one inch strips of cloth on the bias, forming diamonds.

...A piece of cloth may be quickly divided into diamond-shaped figures for quilting by drawing lines thereon with the rulers arranged at the angle shown in Fig. 1 and then changing the position of said rulers so that other lines may be drawn at the proper angle to intersect the first-mentioned lines...
 photo Susanna Nice Nutz drawing of her measuring device.png

In the 1920 census, Susanna Nice Nutz was living at #2 Fountain Court in Kansas City, MO. She was 82 years old, and the head of her household. There was no indication on the form that anything was wrong with her.

So I was stunned when I found her death certificate. Less than one month after the 1920 census, she died on 2 Feb 1920 at Kansas City General Hospital of asthenia and starvation, secondary to senility. (Note: asthenia means generalized weakness and was often referred to as debility on older death certificates. If she was starving, it's easy to see why she would be so weak.)
 photo Susana N Nutz death certificate.jpg

How could this happen, I wondered? She was in the hospital for one day. Had someone finally checked on her, and found her starving? Where was Helen? Did she know? Did she care?

Susanna's remains were sent the following day back to Fort Scott, where she was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, in a family plot with her younger brother, Francis Johnston Nutz, and his wife, Harriet.

Susanna Nice Nutz is only in my family tree because of her relationship to my cousin, Helen Leotia Nutz.

She was a woman I would like to have known in life.

Perhaps I'll meet her on the other side...
dee_burris: (Default)
 photo fortbomb edit.jpg

...And the rockets' red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave?
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave...

Although we all know that the holiday we will celebrate Monday s the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence - a statement declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation - not everyone realizes how the Star Spangled Banner came to be, or that it was not written during the Revolutionary War.

As a matter of fact, Francis Scott Key didn't call it the Star Spangled Banner. His original title was Defence of Fort M'Henry.
It was during the War of 1812 that the verses that would become our national anthem were written.

Key was an influential lawyer who volunteered to negotiate with the British for the return of some American prisoners captured during the war, and being held on the the flagship of the British fleet on the Chesapeake Bay. He and some friends were permitted to board the ship and were successful in their efforts, but since they had learned of plans of the British fleet to attack Fort McHenry at Baltimore, they were allowed to re-board their own vessel, but under British guard.

It was under this close scrutiny that on the night of 13 September 1814, Key watched anxiously as the British fleet continued to shell Fort McHenry, and the Americans became slower and slower to return fire. At twilight, he could still see the 30 by 42 foot Stars and Stripes (one of two flags made the previous year by a woman named Mary Pickersgill), tattered but still flying over Fort McHenry. The shelling continued throughout the night.

By dawn, an eerie silenced descended. Through the smoke, fog and haze, Key and the other Americans looked for the flag. There was a break in the haze, and they could see it.

Our flag was still there... announcing the American victory.

Mary Pickersgill's original flag is preserved at the Smithsonian Institute.

The memory of our ancestors and other relatives who fought for our independence from England during the Revolutionary War, and then fought for it again during the War of 1812, is preserved in our hearts.

Revolutionary War
Joshua Bloomer Ashmore, Sr.
Stephen Bloomer Balch
Luke Chapin
Samuel Chapin
Thomas Hale
Jesse George Hoshal
Alexander Meek
James Meek
Samuel Meek
Nelson Edward Parrish
Elijah Rollins
Ichabod Rollins
Nathaniel Rollins
Jesse Williams

The War of 1812
John S T Callaway
John Ivie
Ephraim C Lemley, Sr.
Keys Meek
Abraham Lincoln Parrish
George Wharton
Jacob Wingfield

 photo d5694c39-f08d-45b0-bba1-9abbddb5d59f.jpg
Lest we forget...
dee_burris: (Default)
This is a photo of the Elmira Cornet Band, Thirty-third Regiment of the New York State Volunteers taken in July 1861, sourced to the amazing collection of photos at the Library of Congress.

 photo Elmira Cornet Band Thirty-third Regiment of the New York State Volunteers July 1861.jpg

Bands were important to the morale of soldiers serving in the Civil War. Militia bands were very highly valued by the local militias as they participated in musters, ceremonies and parades and were useful in recruiting soldiers. As state and local militias were mustered into service they naturally brought along their bands. Within a few months of the start of the war, Congress authorized the creation of Regimental bands for the Regular Army.

The Confederacy also had military bands of its own. My great great grandfather, James Henry Balding, served as a musician in the 15th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (Josey's). On 6 Aug 1862, by order of Brig General Cleburne, he was detailed to Polk's Brigade Band. I've not been able to find out what musical instrument(s) he played, and our family lore hasn't included any stories about his service in the war. Most of the time, musicians were noncombatants.

This is a Sepia Saturday post. Head over there for more interesting vintage images and postcards.
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 photo GeorgeBurrisJrandtwofreinds edit.jpg
Granddaddy Burris on right

My aunt Wanda sent me a news story about my paternal grandfather, George Washington Burris, Jr. shooting at a bank robber making his getaway in an alley outside the Citizens Bank in Arkadelphia (Clark Co.) AR.

The article was reprinted in the Southern Standard on 27 Feb 1975 under a heading called Long Ago. The subheading for the article was Forty-Two Years Ago, which means my gunslinger Granddad spring into action on 27 Feb 1933.
 photo 27 Feb 1975 Southern Standard.jpg

Citizens Bank Robbed - For the first time in the history of this city, an Arkadelphia bank was robbed in broad daylight, when two men, unmasked, but wearing goggles entered the Citizens National Bank a few minutes before 4:00 o'clock, the closing hour, and locking the four employees and a number of customers in a rear room, closing the front door and pulling down the shades, proceeded to scoop up all available cash, $9,200.

However, the robbers had been seen by entering the bank by two 17-year-old negro boys, Clifton Edmonds and Sandefur Cook. They were standing on the sidewalk in front of the bank and saw one of the men loosen a gun in his pocket as he went in the door. They ran to tell the merchants in adjoining stores and the alarm was spread rapidly. Officers and armed citizens quickly filled the streets and alleys in the vicinity of the bank.

One of the robbers, seeing the crowd gather, made his escape by a side door, while the other remained, sacking up the money. As the latter went out of the building into the alley, turning at the rear of the building to another alley, he was met by shots by George Burris, assistant postmaster, and was driven back into the alley.

When he attempted to fight his way out, he was met by shots by Harris Mackey and other citizens who were firing from the alley. All shots went wild but forced the robber to seek shelter in the rear of the Pink Tea Grocery store, where he was later captured by Ed Fortson who had entered the store from the front. The man, who gave his name as Clifford Massey, ex-convict and former Little Rock big "shot" botlegger,
(sic) was placed in jail.

Search revealed two sacks filled with money crammed into a ventilator hole in the ground back of the Pink Tea Grocery, and after a check-up the bank officials reported that every cent of the money had been recovered.

The other robber also caused great excitement but made his get-away.

Maybe that gun on his hip in that undated photo was no joke...
dee_burris: (Default)
I've been putting off writing this entry for years.


For so many reasons, not the least of which is that I don't know if I can be fair.

Or charitable. So I'll say up front that this narrative will be a combination of facts and my perspective having lived through these facts.

This one is about my mother.
Judith Ann Williams was born on 20 Oct 1937 in Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR to Joe Duffie Williams and Doris Geneva Balding. She had an older brother, Joe Carlton Williams, known to everyone as Buddy.

By all accounts, Mom led a fairly privileged childhood. She lived her early childhood years with her parents and brother at 213 Dennison, and had extended family very close by.
 photo 213Dennison.jpg

She told me of happy memories of her childhood - visiting with her Mema, Hattie Chapin Balding, who lived next door at 217 Dennison. Mom said Mema let her play in her china cabinet, taking things out carefully, having her tea party, and putting them back just as carefully.
 photo Judith Ann Williams enhanced.jpg
Mom, about 4 years old

Mom spoke of her memories of sharing ice cream cones with her dog, and of the lovely clothes her own mother made her. Clothes that were envied by her girlfriends.

But Mom positively beamed when she talked about her dad. She was his princess, and in my memories, she was never happier than when she was with him.
 photo August1967a.jpg
Mom, third from right, with her arm around her Daddy. Photo August 1967

My mother would freely admit she was a Daddy's girl.

It was her relationship with her own mother that first cast a shadow in her life. The relationship was competitive and hurtful - on both sides.

Mom was about 4 or 5 when my grandmother was diagnosed with tuberculosis and admitted to the TB sanitarium in Booneville, Logan Co., AR. Booneville is just under a two hour drive one way these days. I imagine it took longer in the early 1940s.

For as long as I knew my mother, she said her own mother abandoned her - that the black maid employed by my grandfather during my grandmother's confinement raised her - not her own mother. I can see how a young child might feel that way - TB was highly contagious, and children weren't allowed to visit patients at Booneville.

But mom repeated the story her whole life. Even as an adult, she didn't seem to be able to reconcile the facts with the childhood perspective. She also felt that her mother favored her brother, Buddy.

But still, she had her Daddy.
When I was 11 years old, my Papa Joe died -suddenly, unexpectedly as he was going down the stairs in his home on Lombardy Lane. He had an aortic aneurysm that ruptured and was dead before he hit the floor.

My mother sank into a deep, profound depression. Even I as a child could see that.

She self-medicated with alcohol. But she had been doing that already for several years. The fact of my life since I had been in the fourth grade had been to look after my younger sisters when my mother had a hangover. She called it a "swollen brain," and it meant that she pretty much did nothing for the day following her alcoholic binge.

Those binges took place at night at first, and were accompanied by Mom screaming at Dad, slamming doors and throwing things into the wee small hours of the morning. Later on, she would rise mid-morning and start her day with her first drink (vodka was the preferred beverage), continue drinking all day, and rage all night. Lather, rinse, repeat. She meted out physical, emotional and psychological abuse to me and my sisters fairly even-handedly. As we got old enough to date, she'd hit on our boyfriends. I decided by the time I was 12 or 13 that it wasn't safe to bring friends home with me after school. For my 13th birthday - and each year after that, when my Dad asked me what I wanted, I told him I wanted him to divorce Mom and get custody of all three of us.

Mom hit me for the last time when I was 17 years old. It was unprovoked. She slapped me with an open hand against one side of my head and tried to get her fingers into my hair. (One of her favorite tactics was to grab my long hair, and kick me with her knee into my coccyx.)

She tried to get my hair and missed. I decked her. She fell flat on her butt. She ran to go tell my Dad, who was in their bedroom. He stepped out into the hall, sized up the situation, looked at Mom and said, "I guess you better not hit her again."

But the violence against my sisters continued. I left home on May 18, 1977 - the night I graduated from high school. I'd like to say I never looked back, but that would be a lie. I felt incredibly guilty about leaving my sisters with Mom.
I saw the film Ordinary People for the first time in 1981, about a year after it was released, when I was living in Lake Charles, LA during my first marriage.

Mary Tyler Moore's depiction of Beth Jarrett took my breath away. There was my mother, but sober.

I have no idea how many times I've watched the movie, but I cry every time.

So much pain. Such an awful waste.
I split with my first husband shortly after that, and in 1981, moved back to Little Rock.

Things were different, and if it were possible, they were worse. Mom detoxed and sobered up for a few years, before unceremoniously announcing to me one day that she wasn't an alcoholic, she just had problems with alcohol. She could still drink now and then.

And by now, there were grandkids...
Mom liked being a grandmother from a distance. She was clear that she did not want to be called Grandma, or any similar moniker. She was Nanny.

Nanny competed with her grandkids to be the center of attention at their birthday parties. She would agree to babysit, and call the parent before the agreed upon departure time because she just couldn't take it any more.

I took a four day, three night business trip when my son was six years old. When I got back, Mom had a litany of complaints about him - he was noisy, too active, and he put his feet on the bed with his shoes still on. I asked her if she told him to take them off.


Did he mind you?


Then, what's the problem? He's 6 years old.

As we were driving away from her house, my son begged me to never again leave him with his Nanny. I didn't.
As the years went on, things got worse. Mom had a drink in her hand almost all the time, even when she was diagnosed with end stage renal disease and had to start dialysis.

She would try to start problems between my sisters and me by telling each of us something about the other designed to be hurtful. She became cruel and cutting with her best - and probably only - friend from childhood, another woman named Judy. Judy in particular mourned the loss of the friend she had always known, and told me repeatedly how my mother used to be. Back in the day when she was the envy of all their girlfriends.

We stopped having alcohol at family gatherings when we knew she would be there. She brought her own. I never drank when I knew I was responsible for a child, yet she would follow me from room to room, insisting I drink with her.

My grandmother died in 1998. My mother's performance immediately following her own mother's death killed any remaining love I had for her.

I gave myself permission to divorce my mother.
During the last five years of my mother's life, I can probably count on both hands the number of times I had contact with my mother - either by telephone or in person.

Judith Ann Williams Neumann took herself off dialysis and went home to die in hospice care. She crossed over on 22 May 2004. The memorial service was on 5 Jun 2004.

I felt no sense of loss or grief. To this day, I do not grieve my mother's passing. I would like to be able to unravel the tangled web that was my mother's life, and get some understanding of what it was that made her so desperately unhappy - and in the process made her want to create misery for those closest to her.

Perhaps I'll get to ask her. On the other side.
dee_burris: (Default)
Sometimes there is no death certificate for my ancestors or extended family members, because they died before uniform record keeping was required.

So I rely on news articles and other sources.

Like cemetery records, or in the case of my third great grandfather, Nathaniel C Callaway, a military record.
 photo Nathaniel C Callaway cause of death-page-001 edit.jpg

I still wonder if Julia Wingfield Callaway was notified of his death.

Because if she was, none of that information got passed down to his descendants.

But now, we know...
dee_burris: (Default)
I'm fixin' to meet one of my Burris cousins to bounce around some planning ideas for the 2016 Burris Family Reunion. So my mind has naturally been on those reunions of my childhood, more accurately known to all as Decoration Day at St. Joe Freewill Baptist Church cemetery, outside Atkins, AR. It was always on Mother's Day, which annoyed some of the mothers who had married in to the family.

The food. Oh. The food. That's mostly what I remember, because as a kid, table after table after makeshift table, groaning with food, was very impressive.

I am a Southern, born and bred. Most all we Burrises are. So it's interesting to me that I had a conversation this past week with a transplanted Yankee who asked me how my family said pecan pie.

 photo Pecan_pie_November_2010.jpg

Did we say pe-KAHN or PEE-can?


In my family, we called it Karo nut pie, and there were always a few of those at Decoration Day, each nestled under a dome made of screen door wire with what looked suspiciously like a drawer pull affixed to the top. To keep the flies off, don't you know...

In my family, the old timers drank two kinds of soft drinks. Root beer, and Co-Cola.

Because you saved the Orange Crush for making ice cream...

I think maybe I'll dig out Grandma Burris' recipe for cream pie, and make a chocolate one for the reunion.

The journey is good, and the memories rich...
dee_burris: (Default)
At the age of 3?

Rooting around on the internet to see if I could find any evidence in historic records to back up the claim in the 1937 letter by William Andrew Burris that his grandfather, William Burris, was indentured as a boy, and lost track of his parents when his master moved west to Tennessee.

So I ran across transcriptions of early court records from Virginia - because we don't know for sure whether William came from North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia.

And this batch of pages was particularly chilling to me...These records are from 1793.

[Page number](215) George Curtis, aged 11 in May next, and John Curtis, aged about 8, to be bound.
(215) Isham Burk, orphan of Isham Burk, deceased, supposed to be over 14, to be bound.
(223) Following to be bound out: Jane Ross, 6 years old March 6th next; Daniel Caphart, 4 years old 13th of May next; Dinah Hunter (daughter of Elizabeth Hunter), 3 years old 3d of this month.
[Emphasis supplied.]
(259-261) Selina Devine, aged 14 the 7th of this March, to be bound to William Armstrong.
(261) Sarah Devine, aged 10 the 9th of this November, 1792, to be bound to Thomas Shanklin. William Rice to be bound to Isaac Ong. James Wilson, aged 13 the 2d January last, to be bound to John Price. Lucy Wilson, aged 8 the 29th December last, to be bound to John Price.
(291) Benj. McCorkle, aged 12 years the 23d August next, son of Mary McCorkle, to be bound to Robert Mays.
(292) John Diddle, 16 years old in August next, to be bound to Andrew Cutler to learn art and mystery of a saddler.

There are more.

But these were heartbreaking to me...
dee_burris: (Default)
If there's a chance one of your ancestors may have been born out of wedlock in North Carolina, I just found two sources of Bastardy Bonds in North Carolina counties.

The first is a 270 page scan of a published list (1990) of Bastardy Bonds from the following North Carolina Counties:

Alamance                               Cabarrus        Cleveland
Alexander                              Caldwell         Craven
Alleghany                              Camden          Cumberland
Anson                                     Carteret          Granville
Ashe                                       Caswell           Moore
Bertie                                      Catawba         New Hanover
Brunswick                              Chatham         Rowan
Buncomb                               Cherokee         Rutherford
Burke                                      Chowan          Surry
Bute                                        Clay                Wake

As explained by the authors, Betty J and Edwin A Camin:

When the pregnancy of a woman or birth of a child was brought to the attention of the court, a warrant was issued and the woman brought into court. She was examined (questioned) under oath and asked to declare the name of the child's father. The reputed father was then served a warrant and required to post bond. If the woman refused to name the father, she, her father or some other interested party would post the bond. In some cases it was found that the mother and reputed father together posted the bond. If the woman refused to post bond or declare the father, she was often sent to jail.

The 270 page listing covers the period of time from the formation of any given county to about 1878. The complete list can be downloaded as a pdf file here.
If you're looking for something specific to Guilford County alone, then there are a few Picasa scans of Bastardy Bonds here.


dee_burris: (Default)
Dee Burris Blakley

August 2017

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