dee_burris: (Default)
2015-02-16 08:40 am

Harry found a photo...

My brother-in-law has been hard at work on his own family tree.

After the death of his mother, Mary Helen Rutherford Rollins, on 15 Mar 2014, Harry found a photo of her grandfather, David Childress Jordan, among her personal effects.

 photo David Childress Jordan crop.jpg

We still don't know David Jordan's exact date of death. But the photo is a treasure, because facts about Cricket's grandfather have been hard to come by.
dee_burris: (Default)
2012-06-11 08:33 pm

Tombstone Tuesday: Edmonson Family Plot

This is the Edmonson family plot at Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock. These are my brother-in-law's maternal ancestors.

Graves in this plot include:
Jonas Smith Edmonson, 1828-1894
Phebe Harris Edmonson, 1835-1903

Their daughter, Mary Frances "Mamie" Edmonson Jordan, 1861-1948

Mamie's children:
Harry Jordan, 1887-1887
Helen Phoebe Jordan Rutherford, 1899-1978

Helen's son from her first marriage to George Ira Brandon, George William "Billy" Brandon, 1910-1927

Helen's second husband, Herbert Hoshall Rutherford, 1899-1930
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-09-27 01:45 pm

Murder or self-defense?

Last Saturday, I took a field trip to Jefferson Co., AR with my brother-in-law and his parents to find more information about his great grandfather, Robert Lee Rutherford.

Robert Lee Rutherford was shot to death on Tuesday, 17 Sep 1916 in Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co., AR. Below is a news article which appeared in the Pine Bluff Commercial the same day - I assume in an evening edition.


Aaron Johnson Charged with the Murder and Another Negro Probably Aided


Negro Who Used Shotgun Upon R L Rutherford Said to Have Been Angered Because He was Upbraided for Spending Money for Whiskey Instead of Paying Debts

Robert L Rutherford, a resident of Pine Bluff for the past 24 years and formerly owner of a plantation about 6 miles east of town which still is known as the Rutherford place, was shot and killed at 11 o'clock this morning by a negro named Aaron Johnson who was a tenant on the place. Another negro man about 21 years old named Charles Corprue, son of Joe Corprue, another tenant on the place is missing from the plantation with Johnson and is suspected of using a revolver in aiding Johnson to kill Mr. Rutherford. Joe Corprue, his father, was one of the eyewitnesses of the shooting. He is also being held, as the officers think he may know more than he will tell. According to him the negro, Johnson, cursed Rutherford this morning, using an unforgivable term. Mr. Rutherford is said to have pulled his revolver out and fired at Johnson, none of the bullets hitting a vital spot. Johnson is said to have gone to his cottage which lay about 200 yards from the road and secured a shotgun. From the examination of Rutherford's body, the white man must have thrown up both hands as the bullets were being fired at him, as both arms were punctured by shot. Shot also took effect in the neck and face and the back was scarred with what officers say is a revolver bullet.

Left Trail of Blood

A trail of blood led from the field where the shooting occurred to the road and it is presumed that Johnson fled toward the road after the shooting. Joe Corprue said that Johnson appeared wounded in the hand and shoulder, judging from the distance he was standing from the men when the fatal duel took place. It is practically certain that Johnson will not escape without some mark of the shooting.

Constable Clint Green, Deputy Constable Jim Reidinger, Deputy Sheriffs J L McBurnett and Tom Stewart, Coroner H E Williams and a large number of Rutherford's friends visited the scene shortly after the noon hour and viewed the body as it lay in a little house near the oil well on the Rutherford place. The head and chest of the dead man were covered with scarcely dried blood and the face bore a plethoric and horrible expression. Indignation ran high at the murder of one of the most chief promoters of the Jefferson Oil COmpany, especially when the cause of the trouble between him and Johnson had originated over a debt.

Was Reprimanded Monday

A J Stockwell, manager of the Rutherford plantation, stated that Johnson told him that he (Johnson) had been severely reprimanded by Mr. Rutherford Monday because he got drunk Saturday night with money he derived from the sale of cotton seed, instead of turning the money over to Mr. Rutherford as part payment for some mules he had bought from him. "I don't guess he would have talked so harshly to me if he hadn't been so near his office," Mr. Stockwell quoted Johnson as saying. From this statement, it is believed that Johnson yesterday planned to kill Mr. Rutherford today.

Reported Dead Negro Found

Shortly after noon L A Baker, a grocer of Twenty-second and Main Streets notified Justice C C Brewster that a dead negro had been reported found a quarter of a mile off the Main street pike on a portion of the Alexander place worked by Jim Taylor, a negro. The report was to the effect that the body had been discovered on that part of the Alexander place which is about four miles from the city limits. The idea immediately gained credence that the body was that of Aaron Johnson who could have had a chance to flee through the woods to the Alexander place and there die from loss of blood incurred by wounds which Mr. Rutherford's pistol inflicted.

The young negro, Charles Corprue, was not located by the officers at 4:30 o'clock this afternoon and officers are completely in the dark as to his whereabouts. Opinion is divided as to whether he had a hand in the killing.

Deputy Constable Reidinger left immediately for the Alexander place in hearing report of the dead negro. His report may do much toward clearing up the mystery.

Holderness' ambulance brought Mr. Rutherford's body to town at 3:30.

Mrs. Rutherford Notified

Mrs. Rutherford was told of the death of her husband shortly after 1 o'clock by Deputy Circuit Clerk Sam P Vaulx, who was associated with Mr. Rutherford in the lumber business for a number of years. Besides his widow, Mr. Rutherford is survived by four children, Miss Ruth, who is now visiting relatives in Waco; Miss Louise Hoshall; and Nannie Rutherford, who are at home with their mother at 1502 West Second Avenue.

Mr. Rutherford was a brother of the [late] John F Rutherford, the prominent capitalist and lumber magnate who died at his home here several years ago. He owned a big farm southeast of the city for a number of years but is said to have recently sold the property, retaining an interest in the land on which the Jefferson Oil Company has been boring for oil for some time with prospects of soon striking oil. Mr. Rutherford was greatly interested in the efforts to strike oil at this place and had been working for several years on plans which he believed would result in finding oil in paying quantities in this section of the county.

Was Threatened Monday

Monday afternoon Mr. Rutherford had a dispute with a negro on East Fourth Avenue over a settlement for some cotton seed. Mr. Rutherford was on his way to G B Wheat's barber shop when he met a negro who is said by those who were near to have abused Mr. Rutherford and made the threat that he would "get him tomorrow." It is not known whether or not this was the same negro who killed him today.

Aaron Johnson is a well known negro farmer and was at one time a deputy constable when Frank Stewart was constable. He lived on the Barrow place at Noble Lake for a number of years. Several years ago when the county owned some bloodhounds, this negro was used by the officers in training the hounds. He would run over the county and the bloodhounds would be trained to follow him.

The home where Robert Rutherford lived at the time of his death.


Subsequent news articles revealed that a $200 reward was issued for the capture of Aaron Johnson, and he was caught and brought to trial in January 1917.

Johnson's attorney successfully got a change of venue for the trial, which ultimately was held in Arkansas City, in Desha County.

The trial lasted one day. Aaron Johnson was found guilty of the murder of Robert Lee Rutherford, and sentenced to die in the electric chair, which had only been in use for executions since 1913 in Arkansas.

Aaron Johnson was executed on 22 Jun 1917.
There are several things which trouble me about this story. I think my brother-in-law has some of the same questions - most of which will never be answered, even if we had the circuit court record to review. Since there was no appeal, I can't imagine there would be a transcript of the proceedings.

Was this a case of murder or self-defense? According to the news article above, Aaron Johnson cussed Robert Rutherford out, and Rutherford shot him in the hand and shoulder for the insult. Johnson went and got his shotgun and returned to take his own shots.

One could argue that the shotgun blasts were sufficient to kill Rutherford, and there would be no need to then shoot him in the back with a revolver - we don't know if he was shot in the back when turning to flee, or after he had fallen, mortally wounded.

I can't imagine - change of venue notwithstanding - that Aaron Johnson got a trial by a jury of his peers in post Civil War Arkansas in 1917. A trial of one day's duration just doesn't suggest that to me. Equally disturbing is the news article's attempt to give the reader some insight into Aaron Johnson by including how he had "helped" law enforcement in the past by serving as live bait for bloodhound training...

I think there must have been plenty of tragedy to go around in the fall of 1916 and summer of 1917 in Jefferson Co., AR.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-09-16 05:48 pm

Sympathy Saturday: Horace Hanby Rutherford, Jr. - 1928-2011

I attended the funeral of one of my uncles today - Horace H Rutherford, Jr.

He was the husband of my father's oldest sister, and had been seriously ill for quite a while.

His death was anticipated, and I know his family is glad he is no longer in pain.

Both the service in the funeral home chapel and the graveside service were quite nice, and well-attended. Uncle Horace was a World War II Navy veteran, as well as a Mason. The graveside service included rites from both the Navy and the Masons. It was the first time I witnessed a Masonic funeral ritual.

His remains were laid to rest in Pinecrest Cemetery, in Saline County. My son was responsible for the opening and closing of his grand-uncle's grave.
Not a lot of people know where Uncle Horace's middle name originated.

Until I started shakin' the family tree, I didn't know what the second H stood for, either.

Uncle Horace (and his father before him), carried his great-grandmother's maiden name.

She was Sally Hanby, and was born in January 1836 in Alabama. She died in 1918 and is buried in Rock Springs Cemetery, in Sparkman, Dallas Co., AR.

Uncle Horace was born in Fairview in Dallas County, on 9 May 1928, to Horace Hanby Rutherford, Sr., and Maybelle Gilliam.
We have a saying here in the south - the height of tacky.

As in, it is (or used to be) the height of tacky for southern ladies to wear white after Labor Day.

Or, it's the height of tacky to fail to send handwritten thank you notes in a timely fashion after receiving a gift or gesture of thoughtfulness from family, friends or acquaintances.

This week, we can add another thing to those things which are the height of tacky.

Like carrying a grudge for so many years against your husband's sister that you refuse to note her among his survivors in his obituary, or hug her when she comes to his funeral anyway, or even have a moment of shame that causes you to make sure the pastor preaching the funeral knows that the deceased's 91 year-old, only surviving sibling is sitting on the front row with the rest of the immediate family, but only because she introduced herself as his sister to a funeral home usher.

So in the interest of trying in some small measure to rectify that thing which was *beyond* the height of tacky, I say here for the record...

Horace H Rutherford, Jr. was also survived by his older sister, Marion Rutherford Hillman, of Dallas Co., AR.
And for any of my immediate family who decide to get their knickers in a bunch about this, thinking I have pissed in their coffee (that's another southern saying)...

Get over yourself.
See you on the other side, Uncle Horace.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-07 08:32 pm

40th Wedding Anniversary - 2 Nov 1969

Mr. and Mrs. George Burris will celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary Sunday, Nov. 2 and will be honored by their children with Open House at their home at 808 Crittenden between the hours of 2-4 p.m.

Mrs. Burris is the former Louise Herrington, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Herrington of DeGray in Clark County. Mr. Burris is a native of Pope County, but has resided in Arkadelphia since 1923. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Burris, Sr. of Russellville. He is a retired assistand Post Master of the local post office having retired Dec. 31, 1958.

Mr. and Mrs. Burris were married Nov. 8, 1929, at the home of Mrs. Sybil Welch. Rev. John Kilburn was the officiating minister and the attendents were Mr. and Mrs. Paul Horne.

They are the parents of three daughters, Mrs. T. A. Lensing and Mrs. Edward Neumann of Little Rock and Mrs. H. H. Rutherford, Jr. of El Dorado and one son, W. F. (Bill) Burris, also of Little Rock. They have thirteen grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

No cards will be sent but all friends and relatives are invited to attend.



Mr. and Mrs. George Burris were honored Sunday, Nov. 2 with a reception in observance of their 40th Wedding Anniversary held in their home from 2 to 4 p.m.

In the receiving line with the honorees were their four children, Mrs. T. A. Lensing and Mrs. Edward Neumann of Little Rock, Mrs. H. H. Rutherford, Jr. of El Dorado and W. F. (Bill) Burris, also of Little Rock. Mrs. Paul Horne of Malvern, twin sister of Mrs. Burris, greeted guests at the door.

The house was decorated in all areas using the appropriate colors for the occasion of red and pink. The fireplace mantel decor included ivy and crystal holders which held white tapers. The dining table was covered with a red tablecloth overlaid with a white lace cloth centered with an arrangement of red carnations and white mums flanked by candelabras with red candles. The three tiered white wedding cake with pink rosebud trim and red punch were served. Diane Pittman of El Dorado serve dthe cake and Debbie Rutherford of El Dorado and Kathy Lensing of Little Rock alternated at the punch bowl, all of whom are grandchildren. The rest of the 13 grandchildren were also dispensing hospitality and wore red corsages.

The many beautiful gifts, all of which were red or pink, were displayed and were the subject of interest and admiration.

A total of 105 guests signed the red guest book with Dee Burris in charge.

Thanks to my cousin for supplying the news clipping announcing the celebration. (One thing we both noticed was that the first clipping said Grandma's married twin sister was her attendant at her wedding. That's not true - Inez was still quite single and living with her sister and brother-in-law when they were newlyweds in the 1930 census. She did not marry until October 1930.)

You might wonder why so much to-do about a 40th wedding anniversary, when the golden 50 is the one so often seen on the society page of your hometown newspaper.

My dad clued me in on that...the family was afraid Granddaddy might not make it to the 50th.

He didn't. George Burris died on 7 May 1974, five years before his golden wedding anniversary.

Which made this celebration all the more precious...
dee_burris: (flag)
2010-11-11 06:24 am

Honoring veterans in the family tree...

And there are many more, I am sure, than the ones I have listed here.

World War II

Burris, George Washington
Son of William Homer and Willie Barbara (Dozier) Burris
22 Feb 1919-4 Feb 1993, buried Woodson Cemetery, Woodson, Pulaski Co., AR

Burris, Homer Earl
Son of William Homer and Willie Barbara (Dozier) Burris
Born 1926

Burris, Neal
Son of Thomas Frank and Winifred (Brashear) Burris
Born 1928

Burris, Richard L
Son of Carroll Monroe and Nancy Alice (Richards) Burris
Born 1907, date of death and burial unknown

Burris, William Remmel
Son of William Carrol Grant and Fannie F (Duvall) Burris
1901-1979, buried St Joe Cemetery, Pope Co., AR

Callaway, Otha M
Son of Herbert R and Bessie Jane (Knight) Callaway
16 Oct 1926- 23 Sep 1978, burial unknown

Callaway, Wallis Mouzon
Son of Robert Wallis and Cora R Callaway
2 Dec 1921-27 Jun 1986, buried Jones Cemetery, Clark Co., AR

Lensing, Edward Eugene
Son of Henry and Ida (Engel) Lensing
1 Sep 1921-1 Dec 2006, buried at Saint Peter and Saint Paul Cemetery, Morrison Bluff, Logan Co., AR

Lensing, Leo A
Son of Caspar and Anna C (Heim) Lensing
20 Nov 1921-6 Nov 1989, burial unknown

Lensing, Thomas Andrew, Sr.
US Navy
Son of Caspar and Anna C (Heim) Lensing
6 Mar 1928-19 Aug 2010, burial deferred

Pettit, Paul
son of George Washington and Berma Frances (Coffman) Pettit
US Army, Bronze Star, Purple Heart
23 Jun 1914-23 Dec 1964, buried St Joe Cemetery, Pope Co., AR

Pettit, Garnett
son of George Washington and Berma Frances (Coffman) Pettit
20 Jan 1920-Mar 1987, burial unknown

Rutherford, Horace H, Jr.
son of Horace H (Sr) and Maybelle (Gillham) Rutherford
Born 1928

Civil War

At the beginning of 1861, the population of Arkansas, like several states of the Upper South, was not keen to secede on average, but it was also opposed to Federal coercion of seceding states. This was shown by the results of state convention referendum in February 1861. The referendum passed, but the majority of the delegates elected were conditional unionist in sympathy, rather than outright secessionist. This changed after the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and Abraham Lincoln called for troops to put down the rebellion. The move toward open war shifted public opinion into the secessionist camp, and Arkansas declared its secession from the Union on May 6, 1861. Despite its relative lack of strategic importance, the state was the scene of numerous small-scale battles during the Civil War. (Source: Wikipedia)

The push-pull of divided loyalties was illustrated within our own family. The families of Robert Ellet Doke and Elizabeth Hamilton (Strickland) Ashmore, and John and Cynthia Ann (Ashmore) Burris both had sons fighting on opposite sides during the Civil War.

Ashmore, Henry W
CSA - Thrall's Battery, Arkansas Light Artillery
son of Andrew Sawyer and Elizabeth (McCarley) Ashmore
Born 1838, date of death and burial unknown

Ashmore, Joshua Bloomer, Jr.
CSA - 27 Mississippi Infantry
Son of Joshua Bloomer (Sr) and Mary (Henderson) Ashmore
25 Jul 1799-10 Oct 1862, burial unknown

Ashmore, Joshua C
CSA - 23rd Tennessee Infantry (Martin's), Cos. A and B
Son of Joshua Bloomer (Jr) and Martha Sarah (Henderson) Ashmore
1836-1877, burial unknown

Ashmore, Robert Doke
CSA - 35th Arkansas Infantry, Co I
Enl 20 Jun 1862 at Dover, AR. AWOL 8 Jan 1863.
Deserted to the enemy 10 Sep 1863. Ht 5' 7", eyes blue, hair lt, complx lt, farmer, age 20, born in AR.
USA - 4th Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry, Co. H
Son of Robert Ellet Doke and Elizabeth Hamilton (Strickland) Ashmore
27 Apr 1843-13 Oct 1921, buried at Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR

Ashmore, Samuel Robert
CSA - 35th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, Co. I
Enl 20 Jun 1862 at Dover, AR. Died 28 Jan 1863. Ht 5' 10", eyes blue, hair lt, complx lt, farmer, age 31, born in TN.
Son of Robert Ellet Doke and Elizabeth Hamilton (Strickland) Ashmore
27 Nov 1831-28 Jan 1863, burial unknown

Ashmore, Stephen Robert
USA - 4th Arkansas Cavalry, Co. H
Son of James Joshua and Ardena Mahala (Matthews) Ashmore
1842-1900, buried Old Baptist Cemetery, Center Valley, Pope Co., AR

Ashmore, William James
CSA - 17th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (Lemoyne's), Co. E
Son of Joshua Bloomer (Jr) and Martha Sarah (Henderson) Ashmore
Born 1838, date of death and burial unknown

Balding, James Henry
CSA - musician, 15 (Josey's) Arkansas Infantry
Son of Henry and Hanna (Morrell) Balding
11 Jul 1841-21 May 1917, buried at Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR

Brannon, James L
USA - 1st Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, Co L
Son of John and Nancy (Webb) Brannon
26 Jun 1835-23 Sep 1902, buried at Coffelt Cemetery, Mason Valley, Benton Co., AR

Burris, Franklin Buchanan
CSA - 35th Arkansas Inf, Co. H
Enl 20 Jun 1862 at Dover, AR. Died in hospital on White River, AR 28 Oct 1862.
Ht 5' 5", eyes blue, hair lt, complx fair, farmer, age 21, born in Pope Co, AR.
Son of John and Cynthia Ann (Ashmore) Burris
1840-28 Oct 1862, burial unknown

Burris, John Crockett
CSA - 35th Arkansas Infantry, Co I
Enl 20 Jun 1862 at Dover, AR. Deserted 24 Aug 1863.
Ht 5' 7", eyes gray, hair drk, complx lt, farmer, age 25, born in TN.
Son of John and Cynthia Ann (Ashmore) Burris
4 Apr 1837-10 Jun 1880, buried Ford Cemetery, Appleton, Pope Co., AR

Burris, William James
USA - 3rd Arkansas Cavalry, Co. A
Died of typhoid 1 Aug 1864 at Lewisburg, AR.
Son of John and Cynthia Ann (Ashmore) Burris
1832-1 Aug 1864, buried at Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR

Callaway, Francis Marian
CSA - 9th Arkansas Infantry, Co. E
Enlisted at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 27 Jul 1861; wounded in action at Shiloh, Tennessee, 6 Apr 1862; discharged on surgeon’s certificate of disability, 7 Feb 1863; age 28.
Son of Lawrence and Sarah L (Eaves) Callaway
28 Feb 1834-7 Dec 1906, buried at Springer Cemetery, Springer, Carter Co., OK

Callaway, James Mattison
CSA - 9th Arkansas Infantry, Co. G
Enlisted at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 27 Jul 1861; wounded in action at Jonesboro, Georgia, 31 Aug 1864, and sent to hospital at Burnsville, Georgia; admitted to hospital at Macon, Georgia, 9 Nov 1864.
Son of John S T and Amy (Stamps) Callaway
1829- Apr 1880, burial unknown

Callaway, James Wiley
CSA - Wiggins' Battery, Arkansas Light Artillery
Son of Abraham Aaron and Tabitha (Wooten) Callaway
5 Jun 1834-5 Jul 1909, buried at Grandview Cemetery, Montrose, Montrose Co., CO

Callaway, John S T, Jr.
CSA - 1st Arkansas Infantry, Co B
Enlisted at Little Rock, Arkansas, 8 May 1861; discharged for disability at Lynchburg, Virginia, 29 May 1861
Son of John S T and Amy (Stamps) Callaway
1802-Aug 1862, burial unknown

Callaway, Jonathan Wilson
CSA - McIntosh's Regiment, Co E
A note from Goodspeed says, "His final surrender was made with the Confederate forces, at Shreveport, at the close of the war, in May, 1865, following which he walked the whole distance back to Arkadelphia."
Son of Jonathan Owsley and Emily (Hemphill) Callaway
27 Jan 1834-1894, buried Oakland Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR

Callaway, Levi A
CSA - 9th Arkansas Infantry, Co. E
Enlisted at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 27 Jul 1861; died in Southern Mothers Hospital at Memphis, Tennessee, 26 Oct 1861 of enteritis
Son of Lawrence and Sarah L (Eaves) Callaway
1839-26 Oct 1861, buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby Co., TN

Callaway, Nathaniel C
CSA - 23 Arkansas Infantry, Co. H
Enl 6 Mar 1862 at Arkadelphia, AR by A.A.Pennington.
Died of typhoid fever at Memphis, TN 7 May 1862.
Son of John S T and Amy (Stamps) Callaway
10 Aug 1819-7 May 1862, buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby Co., TN

Callaway, Peter T
CSA - Clark Co Artillery, (Wiggins Battery) Second Arkansas Light Artillery
Born 1840, date of death and burial unknown
Son of John S T (Jr) and Elizabeth (James) Callaway
As a side note, he was the only heir listed in his father's estate, and note was made in the probate record of 5 Feb 1863 that he was "now in the service of the Confederate States."

Callaway, Samuel Davis
8th Arkansas Infantry Battalion, Co. A
Was a prisoner of War on Johnson's Island OH, documented in a newspaper ad placed by Ben S Duncan, dated 18 Sep 1864.
Son of Jonathan Owsley and Emily (Hemphill) Callaway
10 Dec 1830-1 Jan 1907, buried South Fork Cemetery, Clark Co., AR

Callaway, William H "Big Bill"
CSA - 2nd Regiment, Arkansas Mounted Rifles, Co. F
Son of Jonathan Owsley and Emily (Hemphill) Callaway
Born 1826, death date and burial unknown

Kolb, John Ervin
CSA - 24th, 41st, and 43rd Mississippi Infantry
Son of John Milton and Isabella (Ellis) Kolb
29 Oct 1841-19 Jun 1898, buried at Nimrod Cemetery, Perry Co., AR

Little Rock National Cemetery
Field of "Unknown US Soldiers" at Little Rock National Cemetery

*Details of injuries and deaths of Arkansas Civil War veterans was obtained from this exceptional website.