dee_burris: (Default)
2010-10-31 06:19 pm

Mary C Dunn Callaway Williams

She is my great great grandmother.


She is also my most challenging "brick wall."

All the historic documents say she was born in Georgia, but that is as far as it goes. She was born 5 January 1849, and died at the age of 80, on 9 April 1929. According to her obituary, she was blind for several years before her death.


I have never been able to find out the identities of her parents and/or siblings. I hoped to find out by reviewing her death certificate. The informant for the certificate was Mary's son, Ruben Ned Williams. On it, Ned said Mary's father's name was Mr. Dunn. He did not know what her mother's name was.

And I don't believe that.

Mary was first married to my great great grandfather, Allen Mason Lowery Callaway. They married on 8 September 1866 in Clark Co., AR. Because Mary was still a minor, the family she lived with gave permission for, and witnessed her marriage. But they were not named in the marriage certificate.


Mace Callaway died on 15 February 1877, leaving Mary and their daughter, Julia Ann Callaway. I have found no evidence of other children borne to them - either live or stillbirths.

On 13 July 1878, Mary Dunn Callaway married David Andrew Williams in Clark Co., AR. David was a widower himself, and had a daughter from his marriage to Martha L Canady, named Mary Etta (Marietta) Williams. He and Mary had two sons, Ruben Ned and William Andrew Williams, before he died on 23 January 1888 in Clark County.

Mary's granddaughter, Addie Louise Herrington Burris, was my paternal grandmother. Mary lived with my grandmother when Louise was a child, and all my life, I was told by my grandmother that Mary was her "Indian grandmother." There were two members of my family who felt that while my grandmother did not intentionally lie, she was mistaken about Mary's ethnic origins.

One of my aunts took a DNA test several months ago to try and resolve the issue of Mary's ethnic origins.

Grandma was right about that.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-10-31 06:28 pm
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When history comes home...

It was the first Saturday in April, just a little over a year ago. I remember that it was cool and overcast, so instead of going to work in the garden, I decided to work on the family tree.

I decided to fill out some of the great and grand uncles and aunts, and second, third and fourth cousins of my Wharton clan.

And I immediately started finding their tracks. . . I was blowing along quite nicely until I ran into a particular website. Someone else had been researching the same branch, and had listed the date of death of nearly 20 people in the family as September 1857. They were two Wharton sisters, their husbands and kids.

And I thought, "How lazy is that?" I almost closed the browser, but decided to keep it open while I checked one of my favorite research sites - Find A Grave.

The date of death was correct.

The location stunned me.

Mountain Meadows, UT, on September 11, 1857.

The Mountain Meadows massacre.

Three little bitty daughters from the family of Lorenzo Dow and Nancy Jane (Wharton) Dunlap were allowed to live, as were two of their small cousins from the family of Jesse and Mary M (Wharton) Dunlap. All five girls were too young to identify their attackers. One of them was only a month old at the time of the massacre, and none were older than seven.

Out of a wagon party of nearly 140 people, only 18 children were spared.

Two years later, in September of 1859, the United States Army went back to Utah and brought 17 of those kids back to their extended families in Arkansas and Missouri.

In 1894, one of the soldiers, Capt James Lynch, married one of the little girls he saved in 1859 - my great-grandmother's second cousin. Her name was Sarah.

He was 74 and she was 38. According to her memorial, she was never able to work through the fear, pain and trauma of the massacre. It affected her physically, psychologically, and emotionally for the remainder of her life.

She died in 1901, he in 1910.

I've left virtual candles on the Dunlap memorials.

If you wish, you can too...