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2016-03-31 07:32 am

Preserving historic Arkansas cemeteries

A few short months ago, I asked a few of my friends to help form a non-profit tax exempt organization to provide promotional and supplemental financial support to municipal cemeteries in Arkansas listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There are nineteen such cemeteries, and being owned by cities, they face unique challenges. Money is the first of those. Citizens of cities are not keen about being hit up for donations to operate and maintain city owned property when taxes are being levied for that purpose.

We created Stories in Stone, Inc. at the end of December last year. By mid February of this year, the Internal Revenue Service had decided we were a good idea, and granted our tax exemption.
We are operating on a dream and a shoestring right now.

We need your help. There are several ways you can help us.

Bookmark our website, and check it frequently. We are traveling to all of the cemeteries to photograph them. Each cemetery has a page on our website That's one of the ways we are promoting the cemeteries to all of those of us who brake for cemeteries, and can wander for hours, camera in hand, drinking in the history and art. If you are reading this blog, then you like cemeteries, too.

Follow us on Facebook. Give us a "like." It will boost our appearance on Facebook pages of others who are also interested in historic cemeteries.

Donate some money. Our website and Facebook page have a "Donate" button that takes you to our PayPal page. It doesn't have to break the bank. Donations in the amounts of $5 and $10 can add up, and help us to do some wonderful things. You don't have to have a PayPal account to use the button - you can use your credit/debit card, or your bank account. All donations are tax deductible.
You will find six videos on the Stories in Stone YouTube Channel.

We'd appreciate you watching any or all of these, and giving them a like.

And spread the word.

Our goal is to try and save history, one stone at a time.
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2011-02-15 05:58 pm
Entry tags:

Orphan Trains

At the time I began trying to find Happy Heim for my uncle, I had already seen PBS' American Experience documentary called The Orphan Trains.

At the time I watched the PBS broadcast, I wondered if I would ever encounter someone in my family tree who rode an Orphan Train.

Now, I'm waiting to see who the next one will be.

There's a lot of information on the internet about Orphan Trains. Personally, from my own research, I think the Wiki article is the least accurate, because Arkansas is hardly the midwest United States.

The National Orphan Train Complex is an excellent resource.

Happy Heim rode an Orphan Train to Arkansas in 1904.

But the trains kept coming to Arkansas, even as late as 1912.

In a series of news articles in 1912 issues of the Springdale News, outreach was conducted to get families to show up and meet the trains.

Friday, February 9, 1912...
Homes for nine orphan children brought to Rogers Friday by agents of the Childrens Aid Society of New York were found so quickly and there were so many applicants disappointed that another company of the little folks was arranged for by telegram that night and will arrive here by next Friday...Hundreds of people visited the hotel during the morning to see the children who stood the embarrassing ordeal much better than could be expected...

I've seen quite a few statements on the internet that say it's largely a myth that siblings were split up.

But that's not what shows up in the Springdale News.

From that same February 9 issue...
...[T]he children were placed as follows:
Agnes Margurite Kamm, 12 years - Mrs. and Mrs. E W Homan.
Marion Haines, 9 years - Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Puckett.
Margaret Haines, 7 years - Mr. and Mrs. J S Elder.
Wilbur Pruden, 10 and Marion Pruden, 9 - R H Thomas and wife on White River at Eden's Bluff.
Chester and Emmett Pruden, twins, 4 years - C P Hummell and wife, of Monte Ne.
Walter Bewley, 9 years and Frank Bewley, 8 years - J W Clack and wife, north of Rogers on Elk Horn Poultry Ranch.

This one just broke my heart...
Springdale News, Friday 7 Jun 1912...


The children brought to Springdale were placed as follows:
Madilene Mischlen, 12 years old, H Quandt, city.
Elizabeth Mischlen, 11 years old, J B Stokes, souhtwest (sic) of town.
Barbara Mischlen, 10 years old, J A Joyce, city.
Adam Mischlen, 7 years old, J L Davis, Wheeler.
John Mischlen, 5 years old, Ed Brant, souhtwest (sic) of town.
George Schlesser, 5 years old, John Anderson, city.
Joseph Marr, 17 months old, Rev. A L Cline, city.
Margaret Lovas, 8 years old, W H Kelso, city.
Henry Knuth, 15 years old, Ed Brant, southwest of town.
Addie Knuth, 11 years old, H P Church, northwest of town.
Roy Knuth, 9 years old, J R Langridge, Spring Valley.
Charles Salverson, 13 years old, Carrie Salverson, 8 years old, J P Moore, Springdale.

I wondered why Mr. Ed Brant didn't take siblings for his two choices.

And then I wondered if Happy Heim lost one or more siblings with his "placement."

Other resources for information about Orphan Trains, including stories of and information about the children who rode the trains:
Nebraska's website
Kansas' website
Missouri's website
Wisconsin's GenWeb Orphan Train website
The Adoption History Project
The Children's Aid Society
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2011-02-09 08:27 pm

George Washington Burris, Sr.

He was my great grandfather, the son of James Littleton Burris and Elizabeth Adeline Ashmore. In the line-up, he was their sixth child, and fourth son.


I got a scan of the photo above - a much earlier one than I had ever seen before - when I was allowed to go through family papers and photos at the home of one of my aunts.

Below is the photo that I was used to seeing.


The obvious age difference aside, he doesn't look as serious in the first one as he does in the second.

I've been pondering that.

George married Mary Mathilda Wharton on 7 Oct 1877 in Pope County, Arkansas.

They had their first child, Richard Benjamin Burris, on 3 Oct 1878, just about about nine months before George's father had his fourth child with his girlfriend down the road.

Since they all lived so close together, that had to be at least a little awkward.

A few months after George and Mary had their third child, Walter Monroe, George's final half-sibling was born. (I say that assuming that I have identified all the children Martha Vick had with James Littleton Burris, and also assuming he had no other girlfriends.)

Right about the time George and Mary's eighth child, Ottis Gileston, was born, Martha Vick died. James Littleton Burris obtained guardianship of his two minor sons, Richard and Charley Hill, on 1 May 1893.

When James L Burris died two years later, Richard and Charley will still minors. Someone had to step up to the plate.

Care and control of his minor half-brothers fell to George. He was granted guardianship of both boys two months after the death of their father.

Naturally, I have all these unanswered questions.

First of all, why George?

He had three older brothers. And he certainly had enough on his plate. By 26 October 1895, George and Mary had seven living children of their own, and had just buried their infant son, James Thomas Burris, four days before George's father died in August.

I looked to the other brothers.

George's oldest brother was John Thomas Burris. He served as a federal marshall for 14 years, so it could have been that he wasn't around much to be able to rear a teenaged boy and his pre-teen brother. John and his wife buried their young daughter, Roxy, on 5 Oct 1895. Maybe their grief was just too fresh.

James Franklin Burris (next in line), lost his wife in 1894, and probably needed some help himself raising their three young children. (He would remarry in 1897.)

I know the next brother, William Andrew Burris, and his wife Maria Isabella Wharton, had already moved to the Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory (later Oklahoma), because that's where their seventh child, Ira Herbert Burris, was born in 1891. So Bill wasn't around to help out.

George carried quite a weight on his shoulders. Until 1901, he was guardian of two of his half brothers. The court discharged him and dissolved the guardianship in the April session.

Shortly after the 1920 census, there was not a single child of James L Burris and Martha J (Vick) Hill left in the hills of Pope County, save daughter Hetty, who died between 1896 and 1897, and is most likely buried in an unmarked grave not far from the Burris homestead.

I have to wonder if that has anything to do with the serious look on his face.

I'll probably never know.
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2011-01-23 01:15 pm

Matrilineal Monday: Eada Belle Parrish

I have three photographs of Eada Belle Parrish.

This was taken around 1889.

I think this one may have been sometime after that.

I expect this one was taken, with husband Fred Chapin, not long before his death in 1938.

Eada Belle Parrish was born on 13 Jul 1856 in Macomb in McDonough County, IL, to Benjamin Abraham Yeager Parrish and Minerva Ann Hamilton. She was the seventh of eight children I have documented.

I think she may have been a favored little sister for her older brother, Daniel Broder Parrish. When he married and began his family, he named one of his daughters for Eada.

Eada's father, Benjamin, was originally from Kentucky. When and why he removed to Illinois is something I don't yet know. But between the births of Daniel in 1848 and John in 1851, the family relocated. The 1850 census found them in Clark County, IN.

After Eada's mother died in 1865 in McDonough Co., IL, Benjamin Parrish remarried to Melvina Crume. They had three children in Illinois.

Benjamin Parrish moved his family back to Kentucky. In the 1880 census, he and Melvina were in Grayson Co., KY, and by the time of Benjamin's death in 1904, the family was in Butler Co., KY.

Some of the extended family must have made a pit stop in Missouri on the back to Kentucky. One of Eada's older brothers, Henry Clay Parrish, died there in 1894 in Vernon County.

And that's where Eada married Fred Chapin on Christmas Eve, 1885.

I can only account for two children born to Eada and Fred Chapin.

I wouldn't be able to account for one of them had it not been for a helpful email contact from another Parrish/Chapin researcher.

I knew that Hattie Belle Chapin was their daughter.

What I didn't know was that Hattie had a sister, Ruth, who died before the 1900 census. Since the 1890 census got either burned or waterlogged in a 1921 fire at the National Archives, I don't know when Ruth was born.

But now I do know why Hattie named her first daughter Ruth.

By 1900, Fred, Eada and Hattie had moved to Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR from Bourbon Co., KS.

The next year, Hattie married Victor Claude Balding. Both families lived near each other, as census records show them both in Ward 5 in Little Rock through 1920.

Eada was widowed by Fred's death in 1938. She died on 2 Dec 1944 in Little Rock.

Eada is buried beside Fred in Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR.
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2011-01-18 06:50 pm

Could it have been the Klan?

Because I am not sure if I will renew them, I've been giving my subscriptions to Footnote and Genealogy Bank a workout lately.

They are good resources for finding some of that historic information that helps to add that "third dimension" to my relatives that I discussed here - particularly old newspaper articles.

I found an article from a Dallas newspaper that discussed the uncle of some of my cousins, so I emailed it to them. When one of them replied to thank me, I asked him if he was also interested in seeing news articles about the fire that gutted Subiaco Abbey in 1927.

He said he was. Then he added a very interesting thing...

I remember old stories of the KKK going after Subiaco and the Catholics who moved in that area. I wonder if the fire was an accident or not?!?!? B can tell you a story of our grandmother's house getting shot at in the middle of the night by the Klan. A bullet was lodged in her headboard...while she was sleeping.

I had already wondered if the German Catholic families who settled Logan County in the 1880s had experienced any hostility from their neighbors during World War II, when anti-German sentiment was high.

But I hadn't considered the Klan.

Until now.

I sent my cousin the articles and started my research.

St Albans Daily Messenger, 21 Dec 1927

PhotobucketDallas Morning News, 22 Dec 1927

The Ku Klux Klan had an extensive and high profile history in Arkansas. Still does, to this day.

That's why I was astounded as I was Googling and searching databases for reports of Klan hostilities in Logan County to run across this:

Another faction of the disorder arose in the secret sinister organization known as the Ku Klux Klan. The group was originally organized in Tennessee by a group of Confederate veterans and later spread to other states, including Arkansas, operating as a terrorist organization. Masked, robed, and armed, its members sought to kill or frighten into silence black leaders and their white Unionist allies. The Klan's life was short-lived because law-abiding southern whites turned their backs on the organization that dealt in murder, an action that many of the Klan's early leaders denounced. The Klan's presence had virtually disappeared from Arkansas by the early 1870s. (emphasis added.)
Excerpted from "Powell Clayton and Reconstruction," by Jeannie Whayne, as published in the Fort Smith Historical Society Inc. Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, September 2009, at page 16. See full issue, here.

With all due respect to Ms. Whayne, I vehemently disagree that the Klan has "virtually disappeared" from Arkansas.

I suspect the writer of this 25 Apr 2009 article in Newsweek would, too.

I knew there had been a fire at Subiaco, but I didn't realize there had been two.

The first was in 1901 in the wooden monastery, which burned to the ground. Construction had already started in 1898 on the current Abbey, which is made of "Subiaco" sandstone, and was thought to be safer from fire.

As seen in the news articles, the fire was believed to have started in the basement. The Abbey's website does not mention a cause of the fire, nor does its blog, although the blog post explains that due to the fire, which completely destroyed the north wing of the Abbey (and two thirds of the monastery), St Benedict had to be repositioned to face south.

Nor does the "official" Encyclopedia of Arkansas article give a cause for the fire.

That's a real puzzle to me. Damage estimates placed monetary loss at the Abbey at $1 million.

That was in 1927.

As of 2009, that loss would be estimated at $12.4 million.

And everyone would want to know exactly what happened.

If my cousin heard talk in days gone by about harassment of the Catholic community in Logan County by the Klan, it's possible others did also.

I can imagine that locals may not have discussed such things with law enforcement, fearing retaliation if they did.

Or that if they did take their concerns to the police, those concerns were swept under the rug.

And I'd sure be interested in hearing about those incidents now...
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-08 10:48 am

Connecting the dots...

I love it when little details come together. They start to knit together that third dimension of my ancestors and other family members.

See, that third dimension is important to me.

Genealogy purists would say that I am not a genealogist. There's much more to my family tree than just who married and begat whom, and what year they did that, in what location, and which piece of paper I have to back that up.


But dead people don't have to be - and were not in life - two dimensional.

Flat, ya know.
A very neat thing happened this morning.

I slept until I woke up (I love those days), and then I got coffee, a cigarette, fed the cats, and fired up the laptop.

I had the coolest email from my cousin. (I know, I am dating myself by saying something was cool, but go with it, okay...)

She scanned a bunch of the things her mother had given her related to our family history, in particular, our grandfather, George W Burris, and sent them to me.

They are *way* cool, and help to flesh out our (respective) third dimension of our grandfather.

Both of us knew Granddaddy when he was still living, and each of us has detailed remembrances of him. And naturally, both of us are pumping our own parents for their remembrances of their father.

And so we are seeing the evidence of the stories that Granddaddy was a licensed school teacher, and a licensed attorney in Pope County.

He was.

He was licensed to teach for 1912-1913.

He got his license to practice law in 1917.

I don't think he ever used either one to make his living.

But still.

I had always heard that, but only that he was licensed to practice law. Not about the teaching.

Our grandfather evidently placed a high degree of emphasis in acquiring knowledge.

Maybe he viewed both of these licenses as opening the door to other possible careers if necessary.

Maybe not. Maybe he just liked learning and wanted to see if he could get the licenses. I know people like that.

Whatever the case, he valued education. According to one of his daughters, the reason he decided to live in Arkadelphia when he returned from Panama was education.

He hoped to marry and raise a family. If they lived in Arkadelphia, his children would have easy access to either of two colleges in the town, Henderson State College, and Ouachita Baptist.

So Granddaddy was also very much a big picture guy...
Part of my delight in receiving the email from my cousin was a two page letter to Granddaddy from Lee, written in 1950, and talking about their time they worked together at the Post Office in Russellville. In 1910.

Lee was writing the letter to help Granddaddy gather information to complete an application for retirement from the United States Postal Service.

Granddaddy was trying to get credit for the time he worked at the Post Office before it became a civil service job. Lee was supplying him with an affidavit, saying he worked with George also in 1910 at the Russellville Post Office.

Page 2 of the letter...

So I am sitting here, at my grandma's table, thoughtfully sipping coffee, and thinking about Lee.

Who has to be Lee Jones.

Who appears in at least two of my family photographs, one at the Russellville Post Office, and one family photo of a bunch of Burris men at the G W Burris, Sr home in Russellville about 1915.

Lee's the guy to the far left, wearing the dark suit.

So Lee must have been important to my family. He had a connection with Granddaddy that lasted at least 40 years.

Kinda like part of the family.

Just like family.

Robert Lee Jones was Granddaddy's first cousin.

Lee's mother was Margaret Jane Burris, sister of George Washington Burris, Sr. Margaret married Cass Jones on 20 Dec 1874 in Pope County. Robert Lee Jones was born 29 Jan 1889 in Appleton, a little community in Pope County. (He must have preferred his middle name - I've never heard him referred to as anything other than Lee.)

Lee died in Sebastian County on 28 Jul 1957, seven years after he wrote his 1950 letter to Granddaddy. He is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Fort Smith, AR.
Now I have to try and figure out if he married and had kids. If there are descendants, they may want some photos.

And they may have some, too...
The journey is good.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-03 05:56 pm

Tombstone Tuesday: Infant Burris

 photo firstgravewithbench.jpg

This was the first grave in Old Baptist Cemetery in Center Valley, Pope Co., AR.

It's the grave of the first infant of James Littleton Burris and Elizabeth Adeline Ashmore.

The baby was stillborn in 1841, about a year after they married, and about two and a half years after they arrived in Pope County from Lawrence Co., TN.
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2010-12-27 06:24 pm

Another brick in the wall...

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.
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2010-12-25 10:23 pm

Sunday's Obituary: Mary C Dunn Callaway Williams

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.



DeGray Baptist Church Cemetery, Clark Co., AR
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2010-12-25 03:52 pm

Surname Saturday: Lensing

A little late posting this entry, since Saturday is winding down...

The Lensing family was headed by German Catholic immigrants to this country. Their arrival in the 1880s was likely due, at least in part, to a concerted "outreach" effort in 1877 by the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad to recuit families such as theirs to western Arkansas.

I also think - rightly or wrongly - a big part of their reason for coming was what we call the American dream.

Henry (Heinrich) Lensing was born on 12 Feb 1836 in Klaster, Burla, Westfalen, Germany. He came to Arkansas with his first wife, Maria Anna Roessing, who died in 1881 in Logan County. This information fits the responses to the United State census that Henry gave in 1900, when he said the year of his immigration was 1880. Henry and Maria Anna had at least one daughter about whom I have documentation. She was Anna Marie Christina E Lensing, born 2 Feb 1872 in Borken, Prussia. She married Henry Duelmer.

By the time Henry answered the 1900 census enumerator's questions, he had remarried to Christine Duelmer in 1884, and the couple had six children. (I have been able to document eight children total for Henry and Christine - if someone else has more, please let me know.)
Christine Duelmer was born on 20 Jun 1866 in Westphalia, Prussia.

Christine's family had also immigrated from Germany to Logan County. In the 1900 census, Christine Lensing's year of immigration was 1884. She came with her parents, Josef Duelmer and Maria Catherina Belker, on the ship Rhein on 13 Aug 1884. Port of departure was Bremen.

Children of Henry and Christine were:
  • Alois Lensing was born on 9 Oct 1885 in Logan Co., AR. He died on 18 Aug 1969 in Logan Co., AR. He was buried in Saint Scholastica Cemetery, New Blaine, Logan Co., AR.
  • Caspar Lensing was born on 6 Jan 1888 in Logan Co., AR. He died on 8 May 1936 in Logan Co., AR. He was buried in Saint Ignatius Cemetery, Scranton, Logan Co., AR. He married Anna C Heim, daughter of George Michal Heim and Elizabeth L "Lizzie" Raible on 5 Sep 1911 in Logan Co., AR. Anna was born on 4 Apr 1892 in Logan Co., AR. She died on 18 May 1984 in Logan Co., AR. She was buried in Saint Ignatius Cemetery, Scranton, Logan Co., AR.
  • Herman Benedict Lensing was born on 21 Mar 1890 in Logan Co., AR. He died on 4 Nov 1967 in New Blaine, Logan Co., AR. He was buried in Saint Scholastica Cemetery, New Blaine, Logan Co., AR. He married Anna Schulte. Anna was born on 4 Feb 1893. She died on 4 Jul 1959 in Logan Co., AR. She was buried in Saint Scholastica Cemetery, New Blaine, Logan Co., AR.
  • Henry Lensing was born on 30 Sep 1892 in Logan Co., AR. He died on 23 Apr 1973 in Logan Co., AR. He was buried in Saint Scholastica Cemetery, New Blaine, Logan Co., AR. He married Ida Engel on 15 Feb 1916. Ida was born on 11 Nov 1896. She died on 22 Jun 1961 in Logan Co., AR. She was buried in Saint Scholastica Cemetery, New Blaine, Logan Co., AR.
  • Tresia (Thressa) Lensing was born in Feb 1895 in Logan Co., AR.
  • Rosa Lensing was born in Feb 1898 in Logan Co., AR.
  • Joseph Lensing was was born on 10 Oct 1901 in Logan Co., AR. He died on 18 Jul 1977 in Logan Co., AR. He was buried in Saint Peter and Saint Paul Cemetery, Morrison Bluff, Logan Co., AR. He married Mary N Anhalt. Mary was born on 2 Apr 1903. She died on 30 Nov 1977 in Logan Co., AR. She was buried in Saint Peter and Saint Paul Cemetery, Morrison Bluff, Logan Co., AR.
  • Anna Lensing was born on 21 Feb 1905 in Logan Co., AR. She died on 29 Nov 1928 in Logan Co., AR. She was buried in Saint Peter and Saint Paul Cemetery, Morrison Bluff, Logan Co., AR. She married Henry Joseph Wewers, son of John Raesfeld Wewers and Theresa Raible. Henry was born on 21 Mar 1895. He died on 11 Oct 1951 in Logan Co., AR. He was buried in Saint Peter and Saint Paul Cemetery, Morrison Bluff, Logan Co., AR.
I'd be interested in finding out what happened to two of the Lensing sisters, Thressa and Rosa, after about 1920.  If other Lensing or Logan County researchers know, please comment.

ETA on 4 Nov 2013: 
A comment submitted to me via email by Simone Steiner said: As to Henry Lensing you mentioned in your article that he was born in "Klaster, Burla". I assume that this is "Kloster Burlo" (Burlo monastery), which is part of the village of Burlo, which again belongs to the city of Borken. In the past, there was a Gross Burlo (big Burlo) and Klein Burlo (small Burlo).

Some quick search on Google showed that from 1724 the Burlo monastery was the liege of the Lensing farm. Lensing might also be spelled Lensingh or Lensink. To find more information about the family you might also search for "lensing borkenwirthe". Borkenwirthe is the name of the neighborhood.

Also the surname Roessing (Rößing) already existed in Borken in 1498 spelled Rosinck.

Some good information to have...
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-23 11:23 am

Searching for Mary C Dunn

No matter how "busy" I get with other lines of descent in the family tree, I always come back to her.

Even some of her historic "facts" are open to debate, as far as I am concerned. I made myself a little chronology of what I know about Mary.

Date of Birth: 5 Jan 1849
Source information for this date includes her death certificate, census records, obituary, gravestone, and family lore

Place of Birth: Georgia
Source information for this location includes census records, her death certificate and family lore

Parents: Unknown
I cannot find a single document that gives the identity of Mary's parents. For almost two months, I chased little girls named Mary Dunn across the United States of America, and never found her. However, I can tell you the parentage and location of just about every other Mary Dunn my g-g-grandmother's age.

And there's a story there - something that was a closely guarded secret. Since she was underage to contract for marriage, Mary's first marriage record had this to say about her parents:

...Mary C Dunn aged 17 years...her having no father and the consent of her mother made her home with another family in their presents (sic) was the sight (sic) for porfomace (sic)...

Her death certificate, for which her son Rubin Ned was the informant, was equally tantilizing for its seemingly deliberate omission of her parents' identities. On it, Ned said Mary's father's name was Mr. Dunn. He did not know what her mother's name was.

I don't believe that.

Religion: Baptist, member of Bethel Union (later DeGray) Baptist Church, DeGray, Clark County, AR
Source information for this includes Conference Meeting minutes of Bethel Union Baptist Church, DeGray, Clark County, AR and her obituary.

Date of Marriage: 8 Sep 1866 to Allen Mason Lowery Callaway, in Clark County, AR
Source information for this marriage includes the marriage bond and license, and her obituary

Date of Marriage: 13 Jul 1878 to David Andrew Williams, in Clark County, AR
Source information for this marriage includes the marriage bond and license, and her obituary

Children: Marriage 1: Julia Ann Callaway, born 19 Jun 1873, in Clark County, AR
Marriage 2: Rubin Ned Williams, born 14 Nov 1881, in Clark County, AR; and
William Andrew Williams, born 13 Nov 1882 in Clark County, AR
Source information for children includes census records, Mary's obituary, her children's obituaries, and family lore

Date of Death: 9 Apr 1929 in DeGray, Clark Co., AR
Source information for this date includes her death certificate, obituary, gravestone and family lore

Cause of Death: Noxemia, i.e., insufficient oxygen in the blood
Source information derived from her death certificate

Burial: DeGray Baptist Church Cemetery, DeGray, Clark County, AR
Source information for this location includes her death certificate and gravestone.

Family lore about Mary is about as sketchy as historic documents. There's a photo of Mary and a man I have been told was Bob Dunn, who came to see her from Texas. I don't know if the photo was taken while she was married to Mace Callaway or David Williams. She certainly doesn't look as old as she was in another undated photo of her with her daughter and adult grandson.

And Dunn - aha! A family member?


Brother, cousin, father? I chased Robert/Bob Dunns around the country in census records. I have no idea which, if any, is him in the sub-folders I have on Robert Dunn. I can't put the two together in any context, even though I feel sure he was related to her. He just doesn't look old enough (to me) to be her father.

My paternal grandmother, who was Mary's granddaughter, always told me and other members of the family that Mary was her "Indian grandmother." Several in our family did not believe that.

A few months ago, we laid that one to rest when one of my aunts took a mtDNA test. Grandma was right. If, as my father and I suspect, Mary was illegitimate and a man named Dunn was her father, then she may have been half native.

And if she was born in Georgia, it doesn't necessarily mean she was Cherokee. There were a multitude of native tribes whose homeland was Georgia.

So I stand, once more, in front of her photo, and ask her to give me a sign.
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2010-12-22 06:51 pm

Those Places Thursday: Subiaco Abbey, Logan Co., AR

It's a Catholic icon in Arkansas. Established after successful negotiations for the necessary acreage with the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad Company in 1877, Subiaco is a Benedictine monastery in Logan Co., AR within the Roman Catholic Diocese in Little Rock.

It is also near to the heart of one of my aunts and several of my cousins, as the Henry Lensing family were some of the German immigrants to the United States and Logan County whose lives were entwined with the church for many years.

One of my cousins and I visited Subiaco last summer on a blitz to locate gravestones of several of her ancestors on her father's side of the family.

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As we were touring the inside of the church admiring stained glass windows, she whispered for me to come here.

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That window was donated to the church by her father's favorite aunt, for whom my cousin was named.

It was a wonderful discovery during a trip seeking her roots.
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2010-12-20 05:53 pm

Tombstone Tuesday: Unmarked Graves

Oakland Cemetery, Atkins, Pope Co., AR

I wish we knew which Burris, Haralson, Matchett and Strickland they were. We have so many of each in the family tree with unknown burial places...
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2010-12-13 01:17 pm
Entry tags:

Musing on funeral processions...

There are a whole bunch of little rural towns in Arkansas.

Funeral processions in those places are not often accompanied by police escorts on motorcycles, zipping to the intersection in advance to allow the procession to cross unimpeded.

They aren't needed. Everyone gives way to a funeral procession, pulling as far off the road as necessary to allow all the cars to pass. We even do that in the "big" cities - at least, most of us do. The ones of us who can remember our manners.

Maybe that's just a Southern thing. I don't know.

What I do know is that I was taught from the time I was a little bitty girl that when someone takes that last ride, you show respect.
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2010-12-12 10:11 pm

George Washington Burris, Jr.

It was a really big name for a man of such short stature.

My dad says his father was the "runt" of his family.

There was a reason for that.
Granddaddy Burris was born on 5 Oct 1890 on Isabell Creek in rural Pope County, Arkansas. He was the seventh of twelve children born to George Washington Burris, Sr. and Mary Mathilda Wharton.
The G W Burrises were farmers, like their parents before them. Education was important, but school was held in rural Pope County around planting and harvesting season. Children had to help with the crops.

Church was also important, and was much more than just a place you went to on Sunday. Granddaddy's father, George Sr., organized a Sunday School at what would later be the site of St. Joe Baptist Freewill Baptist Church.

From a newspaper article published on October 4, 2007, noting the 120th anniversary of the St Joe Freewill Baptist Church:
In the year of 1885, George W. Burris organized a Sunday school under a bunchy top Gum Tree at St. Joe on Pea Ridge 10 miles north of Atkins. They had logs for seats and took School Readers to Sunday school. . . The Freewill Baptist Church was organized there in 1886. . . George W. Burris was the principal leader during his entire life.

The stories have varied over the years, but when Granddaddy was still a child, disease swept through the community. Whether it was scarlet or typhoid fever, it was highly contagious, and everyone who had it had to be quarantined from those who did not.

Granddaddy stayed in either the barn or a shed during the time he was ill. Meals were brought as far as the door, and he retrieved them from there. He recovered from the illness, but it left one leg shorter than the other, and I suspect, stunted his growth. He was the shortest man in his family, and walked with a limp for the rest of his life.

George W Burris, Jr. about 1910

Family ties have always been important to my Burrises.

I cannot imagine how Granddaddy must have felt to lose his youngest sister, Ocie, in 1910. Then, three years later, he lost another little sister, Arkie, in a horrible accident that also burned his brother, Ernest and his baby niece.

You expect your parents to die before you do - it's the natural order of things.

But not your little sisters.

Around the turn of the century, George Burris, Sr. became the Postmaster in Russellville. Granddaddy joined the Burris crew, and began work at the Russellville Post Office in 1910.

George Burris, Jr., William Homer Burris, Lee Jones, and
George W Burris, Sr., seated

By May 1920, Granddaddy was in Cristobal in the Panama Canal Zone as a postal clerk for services there. For a short time, he worked for an oil company in Columbia.

He re-entered the United States on 26 Mar 1922, docking at the Port of New Orleans. The man from Isabelle Creek was coming home.

Granddaddy continued to work for the Post Office. He transferred to Clark County, where he became the Assistant Postmaster at Arkadelphia in April 1923. His father, George W Burris, Sr., died on 10 Mar 1929. Although he stuck with the Post Office for 34 years until his retirement, he never got the coveted Postmaster appointment, because he would not change his political party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

Some things just couldn't be compromised.

On 18 Nov 1929, Granddaddy married Louise Herrington, and they started their own family in Clark County. His first child was born when he was 40 years old. He lived to see his first great-grandchild.

Sometimes, I am amazed at the changes my grandfather witnessed during his life. He grew up in an era where it took all day to take the crop to market in a wagon. Having a telephone in your home became commonplace during his lifetime. He witnessed the first automobiles, and commercial airplanes.

Maybe that was why he had such a hard time believing we had actually put a man on the moon. Were they really walking on the moon, or was all that television footage just an incredible hoax of underwater shots instead?

Granddaddy always seemed to me to be happy with simple things. He enjoyed puttering around the yard, and going uptown to the pool hall to shoot the breeze with his buddies and catch up on news.

Grandma wasn't happy about the "pool hall" thing, and you could tell by the way she spat the answer to you when you asked, Grandma, where's Granddaddy?

I think simple things had been fine with him all his life, even during the Great Depression, which followed so closely on the heels of his father's death. That's what he told his mother in his New Year's Eve letter to her in 1931, as he tried to assure her that the next year would surely be better than the last.


I never picture Granddaddy without his pipe.


That photo was taken at the celebration of his 80th birthday. We didn't know then that we'd only get three more birthdays with him. He died on 7 May 1974, in Arkadelphia.

And oh, the secrets he could have told us...secrets that I am only discovering now.

See you on the other side, Granddaddy.
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2010-12-12 11:32 am

Addie Louise (Herrington) Burris

I don't know which one of them was born first on 17 Jul 1908 - my paternal grandmother, Addie Louise, or her twin, Hattie Inez. They were the first children of two sets of twins born to Jasper Monroe Herrington and Julia Ann Callaway. After them came:

Florence Isabelle Herrington, born 13 Feb 1910;
Robert Earl Herrington, born 23 Dec 1911; and
Twin daughters Bernice Josephine and Eunice Catheline Herrington, born 31 Oct 1913.

But Louise and Inez were not the first children born to their parents - not by a long shot.

In order to understand how just how many kids might have been underfoot in the Herrington household, you have to go back through the marriages for both Jasper and Julia.

Grandma's dad was married twice before he married her mother. (Some researcher say three times, but I have not been able to find any evidence of a marriage between Jasper and Emma Willman.)

On 12 May 1895, Jasper married Tabitha Luvenia Bailey in Hot Spring County. They had a daughter, Maude, born that year. Jasper and Tabitha divorced, which was something I didn't know until I started shaking the family tree.

On 15 Sep 1899, Jasper married a widow named Mary Ann (Cothran) Johnson. They had two children, Lillian (born 21 Jan 1902) and Richard (born in 1905). Mary Ann Herrington died in 1907.

So when Jasper Monroe Herrington married Julia Ann Callaway, he already had three children. He and Julia would have six more.

But that did not include Julia's children from her first marriage.

I know without having to be told how Julia Ann Callaway met her first husband, Robert Bruce McBrayer.

Both their families were longstanding members of the little Baptist church in their small Clark County community of DeGray.

They married on 13 Dec 1891 in Clark County, and had eight children:

Charlie H McBrayer, born 13 Oct 1892;
Maude C McBrayer, born 19 Nov 1894;
Larkin Wellington McBrayer, born 1 Mar 1896;
Twin daughters, Maggie Lee and Madgie Buck McBrayer, born 26 Jul 1898;
Verna McBrayer, born 5 Sep 1900;
John Ernest McBrayer, born in 1904; and
A stillborn infant, date of birth unknown.

How many kids were there in your family, Grandma?

Seventeen, including three sets of twins.

I'd dearly love to have a photo of the house that sheltered the Jasper and Julia Herrington family.

At the time of their marriage, they already had nine kids living at home. By the time of the 1910 census, there were eleven.

And we talk about those being "simpler times..."

Grandma became a nurse - an LPN at the hospital in Arkadelphia.

This was Louise Herrington in 1928.


When my dad handed me that photograph a couple of years ago, he remarked, Didn't I have a pretty mother?

He did, and the pretty little nurse caught the eye of the assistant postmaster at the Arkadelphia Post Office.

On 18 Nov 1929, Addie Louise Herrington married George Washington Burris, Jr. They had three daughters and one son. Eventually, there were thirteen grandchildren.

The George and Louise Burris family grew up in Arkadelphia, in a rock clad house on the corner of 9th and Crittenden Streets. My grandmother loved flowers and had a border that went all the way around the house, with huge hydrangeas on each side of the front door.

My grandparents loved having their family come to visit. Grandma spent hours cooking before and during those visits. She was one of a long line of women who believed most anything that happened to you could be faced much easier with a home cooked meal in your belly.

The noon meal was dinner and the evening meal was supper. You rose and retired with the chickens. (No, they didn't have chickens in town that I recall, but you got up early and went to bed early.)

During visits in the fall, my dad or one of the uncles would climb the pecan tree and shake it so we kids could get the nuts that fell to the ground. Grandma needed those for her famous Karo nut pies.

I loved doing that, but was really glad when I got too big to be the kid who sat on the ice bag (paper, back then) on top of the ice cream freezer in the summer, while a grown up cranked. We had all the Orange Crush ice cream we could eat.

As a child, I was lucky enough to be able to spend several days over a few summers with my grandparents.

The bacon frying fork always amused me, even as a kid. Grandma had one fork that she used for turning bacon in the mornings, and you weren't supposed to set the table with it. It was for frying bacon.

One summer when I was about 7 or 8, I spent a week with my grandparents. There was a sidewalk sale "uptown," and Grandma thought I might like to spend my little bit of mad money there.

We got ready and walked from the house to the sale. She didn't bat an eye when I bought myself a silver lipstick and proceeded to adorn my mouth with it. (I must have looked like a little ghoul.)

I had my eye out for a gift for her. About the third store, I saw them.

Earrings. Patriotic - red, white and blue earrings. They were clip-ons, like she wore. They had multiple dangling chains with red, white and blue balls all the way down the chains, which came half-way down your jaw. Not like what she wore. Ever.

But to my child's eye, they were beautiful. And a bargain, too - only fifty cents.

I waited until she was busy looking at another table, and made my purchase. The clerk wrapped them up in a paper bag under the table, so Grandma couldn't see.

I was going to wait until we got home to give them to her, but the excitement was killing me. I gave them to her on the spot.

She opened them up, and exclaimed over them. Gave me a big hug and a kiss.

And put those gawd-awful earrings on, in the middle of uptown Arkadelphia, and wore them all day.

And every day I was there that week.

Grandma quilted. She wasn't big into sewing per se, but she had a friend who was, and she kept all 10 of her granddaughters' Barbies incredibly fashionable for years.

She made quilts for each of us, starting with the oldest and each year, presenting our parents with the quilt of the year.

Over my childhood and into my young adulthood, Grandma made me two quilts. The first one was given to me when I was quite young, and my mother let me and my sisters take the quilts out to the backyard to make a tent over the clothesline with them. We weighted them down with rocks to keep them from flapping in the breeze.

Needless to say, I no longer have that quilt.

But I do have the last one she made for me before she died.


It's a Split Rail Fence quilt, and although I do still use it, I use it sparingly. It's hand-pieced and hand-quilted. You don't find that much any more.

Grandma died on 11 Jul 1980, just six days short of her 72nd birthday, and six years after my granddad passed.

I was living in Louisiana then, and didn't get home for the funeral. I also wasn't around to help my dad and one of my aunts in their effort to get a more equitable distribution of my grandparents' personal effects. The three of us are pretty sure there is quite a bit of the Herrington, Callaway and McBrayer family history mouldering away in the attics and storerooms of my two other aunts.

Time is on my side now. And I'm back home.

I make a few trips to Clark County now and again. On a trip last summer, I stopped by the house at 9th and Crittenden.


The passing of thirty years has not been kind to the house or the flower garden that Grandma loved so much.

Her immaculate flower borders are gone, ripped out and replaced by weeds and overgrown shrubs. The detached garage has almost fallen down.

I did see signs that someone was working on the house, as there were new windows hung on the west side.

Maybe someone will love it as much as she did.

Her memory remains, cherished by so many of us.


George and Louise Burris, at the side entrance of the house at 9th and Crittenden

See you on the other side, Grandma.
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2010-12-10 05:08 pm

Surname Saturday: Hemphill

Thomas G Hemphill was born in June 1842, the son of Samuel Hemphill and Nancy Callaway. He was single all his life, as far as I can tell.

He enlisted in the Confederate States Army at Little Rock on 15 Jul 1861. He served as a Private in the Clark Co Artillery, Wiggins Battery, 2nd Ark Light Artillery.

A note at this website discusses the history of the battery and states, in part:

For reasons not yet fully researched, the men of the Clark County Artillery appear to have been singled out by the Federal authorities for harsher than normal treatment. They were not included in the general parole of prisoners in April and May of 1865, but were held well into the summer of that year before finally being released.

Thomas' military records seem to bear that out.

According to muster roll records, Thomas was taken prisoner at Shelbyville TN on 27 Jun 1863. Then, he was:
  • Sent to Louisville KY on 15 Jul 1863.
  • Sent to Camp Chase (OH) 20 Jul 1863.
  • Transferred to Camp Douglass (IL) on 24 Aug 1863. (Muster roll record dated Nov/Dec 1864 showed him as a POW, with last pay date of 30 Apr 1863.)
  • Transferred to Point Lookout MD on 14 Mar 1865.
  • Admitted to General Hospital, Howard's Grove, Richmond VA on 22 Mar 1865 (treatment for "scorb," e.g., scurvy).
  • Paroled at Meridian MS on 10 May 1865.
Thomas returned home to Clark County.

In the 1880 census, he was living with his brother John and his family in Clark County.

In 1900 he was listed as a boarder in the home of Alonzo and Martha Obaugh, Caddo Twp, Clark Co., AR. Alonzo was his step-brother, his mother having married Alonzo's father, James H Obaugh, in 1858, after the death of Samuel Hemphill in 1847.

According to the Clark County Historical Association's cemetery book, "Clark County Cemeteries, Vol II," T G Hemphill is buried in an unmarked grave in Rose Hill Cemetery in Arkadelphia. A list of Confederates buried in unmarked graves in Rose Hill was extracted from an article in the Southern Standard dated 1 Jul 1909.

So for now, I have to date Thomas Hemphill's death between 1900 and 1909. If anyone has an exact date of death, I'd love to hear from you.
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2010-12-09 06:13 pm

Bits and Pieces: Russellville [AR] Courier Democrat, 11 Nov 1897

John S Bowden has moved near Mountain View, at which place he will teach the winter term of school.

The Center Valley school opened Monday with Prof W S Grimstead as teacher. This is the Prof's third term there, and a successful term is assured for he always gives satisfaction.

Ashmore & Loyd, our enterprising merchants, have by courteous and honest dealings built up a good trade here.

Card of Thanks
To the undersigned persons and others whose names we have not we extend our thanks for assistance given us after the loss by fire of our home near Caglesville:
Russellville: R L Lawrence, R B Hogins, S A Henry, R B Wilson, D B Richardson, Lawrence Russell, M H Baird, Twiggs Brown, Chas Henry, Tate & Peeler, W M Hillis, John Quinn and Rans Shinn.
Dover: Jas A Webb, Ruff & Truett, W H Poynter, J R Neal, J I Simpson, John Hatley, Chas Talkington and Willis Berry.
Moreland: F M Hudson and Son.
Hector: Jas Baily and Ellis & Simpson.
Appleton: J B Turnbow, J B Cawhorn, J J Richardson, George Rankin and J W Stokes.
Cagelsville: Rufus Yow, W H Hampton, R F Rainey, J B Kyle, G W Garrigus, B F Garrigus, J E Garrigus and J R Pullen.
Atkins: R C Horton, Reynolds & Bro., Will Lemley, H Bledsoe, F P Henry and Wilson & Brooks.
The above please accept our heartfelt thanks.
J K Biffle and Family
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2010-12-09 05:54 pm

Bits and Pieces: Marriage Announcements

From the Russellville [AR] Courier Democrat, 3 Nov 1898:

Since our last reports, County Clerk Mourning has issed marriage license to the following persons: J M Epps to Miss Lula Epps; W R Freeman to Miss Rena Dunlay; Everett McGorven to Miss Ora Butler.