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Fred and Paul Burris, circa 1930, Pope Co., AR

Sons of Richard Benjamin Burris and Allie Jane Hurst.
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Probably next to gravestones for children, homemade stones touch me the most.

And when you combine the two. . .

Imagine the emotions running through you as you select the rock on which you will carve a name.

Click here to view. . . )
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Doris (Balding) Williams, 1907-1998 and her sister, Vera (Balding)King, 1910-1999
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Left to right: Hattie (Chapin) Balding, Jo Carleton "Buddy" Williams, Sue (Keene) Williams, Russell Ellington "Linky" Balding, Judith Ann (Williams) Burris Neumann, Jo Duffie Williams, Lucille Balding.

Sadly, only one of those folks is still alive.
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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.
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Two years ago, my youngest sister asked me if I knew about the graves on the side of the road. She and her son had seen them as they drove down Arkansas Highway 5 to run errands in a growing town that has almost swallowed up the countryside.

I went to go check them out.  )
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It happens every time I open the Williams family photo album.

More dry rot, and more photos falling out. It's to be expected from a photograph album that's soon to be 125 years old.

So I dutifully scan.

And mutter under my breath cuss out loud as I do it.

Because Maxie hardly ever labeled a thing.

I get a work out researching photographers and when they were in operation.

Click here to amble through anonymity with me... )
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I wanted to go to Elmwood ever since I found out last summer that my g-g-g-grandfather, Nathaniel C Callaway, was buried there, in the section called Confederate Soldiers Rest.

This week, one of my newly found Callaway cousins and I had a Nike moment, and said let's just do it.

So we went today.

We found Nathaniel's grave, with the help of a map with tiny little plot numbers on it, and a very enthusiastic office staffer with a magnifying glass. We also found Levi Callaway's grave - he was a fourth cousin to Nathaniel.

Neither grave was marked, apart from the little concrete markers with the plot numbers, 652 and 140, on them. But now we know where they are, and we can order markers from the government, pay the cemetery to set the stones, and then get our photos.

Elmwood is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is huge, and tours are given by advance request for groups of ten or more. You can take an audio driving tour solo, but we just decided to meander on our own.


I took 202 photos. It was very hard for me to pare down the number to post.

Click here to see 30 more... )
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Barkman House, 406 N 10th Street, Arkadelphia

According to the Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce, the Barkman House was "originally owned by J.E.M. Barkman, son of early Clark County settler Jacob Barkman, this house was constructed by Madison Griffin, who built Magnolia Manor as well. Its ornamentation is known as "Steamboat" or "Carpenter's Gothic." The house was not completely finished when the Civil War began, and local legend reports that piles of lumber were taken from the front yard to build Confederate fortifications. Now owned by Henderson State University, the Barkman House is included in the National Register of Historic Places."

Captain Henderson House Bed and Breakfast, 349 N 10th Street, Arkadelphia

According to the B&B's website, the 9,000 square foot Victorian era home was once home to Captain Charles C Henderson, and began as a small cottage built in 1876. In 1906, the cottage was incorporated into what became known as "The Big House," and was further enlarged in the 1920s.
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The Williams family photo album is falling apart now. It was given to my great-grandparents, Jo Desha and Maxie Leah (Meek) Williams for Christmas in 1885, probably as an engagement present prior to their marriage on 11 Feb 1886.

This one fell out.

bet 1871 and 1878

I have no idea who she is. She could have been one of Maxie's friends, since I have found other photos of Maxie's friends in the album.

It was taken between 1871 and 1878, according to my research on the photographer.

Then, there is the daguerreotype - equally mysterious.

Who knows which Williams

I've taken it apart one time to get all the information I could about it.

In the interest of historic accuracy, I really think this is an ambrotype, placed in a daguerreotype case made by Litchfield, Parsons and Co. The tag inside the back of the piece says the case is a Union case, with embracing riveted hinge, patented by LP&C on October 14, 1856 and April 21, 1857. By the late 1860s, the ambrotype was replaced by the tintype.

So I have a date range for my heirloom photograph of roughly 1856 through 1865.

And no clue as to the identity of my ancestresses.
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That's what my dad calls them - when siblings from one family marry siblings from another. The kids from each family are not only cousins, but double cousins.

We have a lot of those in my family. But these are our favorite pairs.


Left to right...Elbert, George, Homer and Earl Burris

I'm guessing the date of the photo to be around 1905. And this one always cracks me up, because these were "good" Baptist boys, but they look to me like members of an organized crime family hiding out in the woods.

Elbert (1887-1978) and Earl (1901-1973) were brothers, and the sons of Jefferson William (1860-1941) and Margaret Malinda (Wharton) Burris (1862-1927).

George (1890-1974) and Homer (1887-1974) were also brothers and the sons of George Washington (Sr) (1856-1929) and Mary Mathilda (Wharton) Burris (1859-1938).

Here are the parents of the double cousins.


Seated, left to right - George Burris, Jeff Burris
Standing, left to right - Mary Mathilda Burris, Margaret Malinda Burris,
Margaret Jane (Burris) Moore, sister of George and Jeff
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This is one of my favorite monuments at Calvary, not just because of the incredible workmanship, but also the colorful history of the man who is memorialized by it.



Remember the old Southern manse featured in the opening credits of Designing Women? Angelo Marre built the Villa Marre in Little Rock in 1881 for his bride, Jennie, who had left her first husband (and uncle), James Brizzolara and her six year old son, to be with Angelo. Jennie never bothered with the formality of a divorce from Brizzolara, but managed to avoid being charged with bigamy by saying that her marriage to Angelo was not legal, because it had not been performed in a Catholic church.

For his part, Angelo got his start as a saloonkeeper in Little Rock after leaving the Memphis police force with the proceeds of an inheritance he had received from a Memphis madam - "in remembrance for my and his love for each other" according to her will. Angelo Marre died of blood poisoning in 1889, and Jennie lived in the home until her death in 1905.
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Jo Desha and Maxie Leah Williams family, Christmas Day 1900
photo by McLeod, the Wild West photographer

Every time I see this one, I just dissolve into gales of laughter.

Can't you just imagine the dinner table discussion a couple of weeks before the holiday?

"Honey, what shall we do this year for Christmas? After all, it's the first Christmas of the new century."

Oh, I don't know. . .hey, why don't we get that McLeod guy to take a picture? We could dress up and go sit outside on some rocks."

"Marvelous idea, darling! And we could put Paul and Cedric on a couple of asses. They've been acting like asses for a few days now. It would serve them right. . ."

The back of the photo has an extensive ad for "McLeod, the Wild West Photographer. . . the man who made Happy Hollow famous the world over."
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Ernest Burris (left) and Blaine Splor, delivering the mail at Appleton, Pope Co., AR, about 1915

Russellville, Pope Co., AR Post Office, about 1910

George Burris, Jr., William Homer Burris, Lee Jones, and George W Burris, Sr., seated
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Left to right
Front Row: Unknown, Floyd Ashmore, John Barton, Rea Burris, Ocie Burris, Chloe Britt, Minnie Staggs, Una Weir, Unknown, Unknown, Rufus David, Sid Simpson, Cecil Virden, Bill Mullins, Ira Ashmore.
Second Row: ? Nowlin, Mamie Staggs, Willie Nowlin, Lillian Mullins, Elsie Barton, Annie Ashmore, Allen Price (Teacher), Unknown, Zettie Ashmore, Mabel Simpson, Shelly Simpson, Norma Gideon, Eulan Gideon, Minnie Staggs, Sybil Gideon.
Third Row: Viola Burris, Tempie West, ? Llewellyn, Eva Barton, Eskar Ashmore, Marilla Ashmore, Unknown, Unknown, Faye Mann, Georgia Gideon, Maud Davis, Goldie Burns, Unknown.
Fourth Row: Evan Davis, Unknown, Elmer Crites, Harvey Darter, Walker Hamilton, Homer Ashmore, Bill Ashmore, Eddie Darter, Grady Hamilton, Ezra Darter, Edgar Burris, Odie West, Unknown, Louell Burns.
The three boys in back, at left: Leon Burris, Finis Ashmore, Chalmers Llewellyn.

If you can identify any of the unknowns, please let me know.
An Ashmore cousin who found me provided me with additional information about the Ashmore children in this photo.

Floyd Ashmore was David Floyd Ashmore (1899-1967), son of Paris Gipson Ashmore and Elizabeth L Franks. As evidence of continuing interaction between the Ashmore and Burris families, Floyd married Ocia A Burris (1899-1964), daughter of James Mitchell Burris and Mary Elizabeth West. Floyd and Ocia married on 2 Jan 1921 in Pope County. They are buried in Rest Haven Memorial Park, Russellville, Pope Co., AR.

Ira Ashmore was Ira Marion Ashmore, son of Clemen Doak Ashmore (variations of the first and middle names are Clement and Doke) and Serena C Kennedy. I have Ira's year of birth as 1901, and no date of death for him. ETA: Dwayne had his date of death...5 May 1987. He was married to Allie, and is buried in Sunset Memorial Park, Gilmer, Upshur Co., TX.

Annie Ashmore was Anne Elizabeth Ashmore (1897-1980), daughter of Samuel R Ashmore and Precia Elizabeth Ashmore. Annie married Thomas Ray "Tom" McGuire (1899-1964) in 1926. They are buried in Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR.

Zettie Ashmore was Zettie M Ashmore (1897-1928), daughter of Clemen Doak Ashmore and Serena C Kennedy, and was the sister of Ira Ashmore. She married a man with the surname Jones. Zettie is buried in the Bowden Cemetery, Pope Co., AR.

Eskar Ashmore was Mary Eskar Ashmore (1895-1938), daughter of Clemen Doak Ashmore and Serena C Kennedy, and was the sister of Ira and Zettie Ashmore. She married Freeling Prewitt (1882-1939). They are buried in Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR.

Marilla Ashmore was Marilla Emmons Ashmore (1894-1979), of Paris Gipson Ashmore and Elizabeth L Franks, and was the sister of Floyd Ashmore. Marilla married George Homer Cole (1890-1976) on 2 Feb 1913 in Pope County. They are buried in Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR.

Homer Ashmore was Edwin Homer Ashmore (1894-1916), son of Samuel R Ashmore and Precia Elizabeth Ashmore. He is buried in Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR.

Bill Ashmore was William Robert Ashmore (1893-1976), son of Clemen Doak Ashmore and Serena C Kennedy, and oldest brother of Ira, Zettie and Eskar Ashmore. He married Elizabeth Scott (1896-1975) on 27 Dec 1914 in Pope County. They are buried in Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR.

Finis Ashmore was Finis M Ashmore (1897-1972), son of Paris Gipson Ashmore and Elizabeth L Franks, and brother of Floyd and Marilla Ashmore. He married Willie Rea Bird (1899-1980) on 10 Sep 1916 in Pope County. They are buried in Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR.
Credit for fleshing out the family relationships of the Ashmore kids identified above goes to Dwayne Ashmore, my 4th cousin, once removed.

We are having a blast trading information.


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Dee Burris Blakley

August 2017

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