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07 November 2014

#32--52ancestors -- Mayflower Links

Dear Grandsons,
Yes, you have ancestors who came over on the famous Mayflower in 1620 and celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621. No, their names were not Gormley. However, they are your 10th-great-grandparents — John Alden and Priscilla Mullins (also spelled Mullens).

George H. Boughton (1833-1905) painted the famous Pilgrims Going to Church (1867, originally "The Early Puritans of New England Going to Church"), a scene he interpreted from a quote in W. H. Bartlett's The Pilgrim Fathers (London:1853, p. 237).
They have become a famous pair — thanks in part to an 1858 narrative poem by the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who also was a descendant of John and Priscilla. You have many cousins thanks to your connection to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. The poem focused on a love triangle between three Pilgrims: Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullens, and John Alden. Longfellow claimed the story was true, but the historical evidence is inconclusive. Nevertheless, the ballad was exceedingly popular in 19th-century America and immortalized the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Miles Standish and John Alden purportedly vied for the affections of Priscilla Mullins, who utters, according to Longfellow, one of the most famous retorts ever: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?"

John Alden married Priscilla Mullins on May 12, 1622. She was the only survivor of the Mayflower Mullins family. They had 10 children and built a home in what is now Duxbury, Massachusetts on the north side of the village, on a farm, which is still in possession of their descendants of the seventh generation. John Alden's House, now a National Historic Landmark, was built ca 1653 and is open to the public as a museum. It is run by the Alden Kindred of America ( an organization that provides historical information about him and his home, including genealogical records of his descendants.


Alden House in Duxbury
Priscilla died in Duxbury between 1651 and her husband's death in 1687. Both were buried in the Myles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
John and Priscilla had the following children who survived to adulthood:

1. Elizabeth was born about 1624 and died in Little Compton, Rhode Island on May 31, 1717. She married William Peabody on December 26, 1644, and had 13 children.
2. John was born about 1626 and died in Boston on March 14, 1701/2. He married Elizabeth (Phillips) Everill on April 1, 1660, and had 14 children.
3. Joseph was born about 1628 and died in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on February 8, 1696/7. He married Mary Simmons about 1660 and had seven children.
4. Priscilla was born about 1630. She was alive and unmarried in 1688.
5. Jonathan was born about 1632 and died in Duxbury on February 14, 1697. He married Abigail Hallett on December 10, 1672, and had six children.
6. Sarah was born about 1634 and died before the settlement of her father's estate in 1688. She married Alexander Standish about 1660 and had eight children.
7. Ruth was born about 1636 and died in Braintree on October 12, 1674. She married John Bass in Braintree on February 3, 1657/8, and had seven children.
8. Mary was born about 1638. She was still alive and unmarried in 1688.
9. Rebecca was born about 1640 and died between June 12, 1696, and October 5, 1722. She married Thomas Delano in 1667 and had nine children.
10. David was born about 1642 and died in Duxbury between July 2, 1718, and April 1, 1719. He married Mary Southworth by 1674 and had six children.

You descend from their third child, Joseph Alden (1628-1696/7) who married Mary Simmons; they had a son, Isaac Alden (1666-1727) who married Mehitable Allen. They had a son, Captain Ebenezer Alden (1693-1776) who married Anna Keith. They had a daughter, Abigail Alden  (1721-1762) who married Ebenzer Byram Jr. They had a daughter, Mary Byram (1755-1819) who married Silas Ayres. They had a daughter, Hannah Ayres (1781-1832) who married Isaac Pierson. They had a son, Byram Ayres Pierson (1801-1886) who married thirdly, Catherine Hosslich. They had a son, Isaac Pierson (1847-1911) who married Katherine Maybee. They had a son, Claude Vernon Pierson (1886-1942) who took the Gormley surname of his adoptive parents who took him to rear when his mother died when he was a baby.  He was your great-grandfather. See my blog about him.

Your family tree names start with Alden and Mullins and then zigzag to Byram, Ayres, Pierson and finally to Gormley. Happy Thanksgiving and remember your heritage.

The sentimental postcard (above) was drawn by prolific card illustrator, Ellen H. Clapsaddle (1863-1934), who also did many other Thanksgiving cards.

04 November 2014

#31-52ancestors--Treasures in Old Letters

“Taken me a woman . . .”

Letter dated: 25 January 1885
Jasper, Newton County, Arkansas
Addressed to: E. C. and Nancy Anderson and family
(in Laurel County, Kentucky)
From: J. F. Kelley and Wm. C. and M. E. (Kelley) Vanderpool,
Newton County, Arkansas
[note: J. F. Kelley is the father of M. E. (Kelley) Vanderpool

J. F. Kelley writes:
“Dear Brother and Sister. I seat myself to write to you in answer to your letter that I received and was glad to hear from you and that you was all well and doing well. This leaves us all doing well. As for news I hant [sic] any more than times is hard and money is scarce. Corn is from 40 to 70 cents a bushel. Pork is 4 cts. per pound, wheat is $1.00 per bushel. Flour is $2.25 cts. per hundred. Horses is high and cattle is low. Store goods is reduced in prices in this country. So that will do on that.

“We have had some winter here for some time but I think we will have some milder weather in a few days. Well, I would like to see you the very best in the world, but as old age and time and distance will not admit [sic] just now. I can't tell when the opportunity will roll round but I would like for you all to come over and see me and look at the country. I will try to furnish you some to eat."

[The following evidently penned by either M.E. (Kelley) Vanderpool or her husband, W. C. Vanderpool]:
“Uncle Clayton, you spoke in your letter that your children was good scholars. I am glad to hear it, but not boasting at all but I think that we have got two children that learns invariably fast. John, our oldest can spell anywhere in the Blue Back Speller by heart. He and Elbert is [sic] going to school four miles from home. His studies is the speller, fifth reader and third part arithmetic, and our Nancy is a spelling near the back of (the) speller and can read in the second reader.

“Aunt Nan, I will tell you about Henry's folks. They are as well as common. They have three children. They have a pair of twins. They are both girls. They are one week old. The oldest one is just eleven months old. So enough on that. My baby is ten months old and is as smart as a cricket.

“Aunt Nan, I would love to see you all the best in the world. I wish that you and Uncle Clayton was out here to go to meeting with us next Sunday. We live in one mile of the church house. Aunt Nan, I want you to tell Aunt Jane that I hant forgot her that I would love to see her and I want her to write to me.

“As we haven’t said anything about corn crops, I will state to you that has been good corn crops in this country this year. Pap says that he has raised more corn and better this year than he ever did. Aunt Nan, I will send you one of Pap's pictures in this letter. So I will come to a close for this time hoping to hear from you all soon."

[Thanks to my cousin, Shirley Martin Chandler, who found the letters in her granny’s attic, transcribed and provided me with a copy.].

The family links:
“Aunt Nan” was Nancy (née Jones, 1847-1918), the wife of E. C. (Ephraim Clayton) Anderson. They married 1868 in Clay County, Kentucky and at the time this letter was written, they were living in Laurel County, Kentucky.

The family connection between J. F. (John Farmer) Kelley and E. C. Anderson was actually between Sarah (née Anderson), the wife of J. F. Kelley, and E. C. Anderson. They were sister and brother (children of Joseph Anderson and Mary McElroy). Sarah died sometime between 1870 and 1880 in Arkansas. J. F. Kelley calls them brother and sister although technically, E. C. Anderson is his brother-in-law, and Nancy is E.C.’s wife.

The second part of the letter, evidently by (or for) Mary Elizabeth (née Kelley) Vanderpool contains some genealogical jewels. She mentions her children, John Vanderpool (my paternal grandfather) and Nancy Vanderpool (apparently the namesake of “Aunt Nan” as there are no other Nancys in these families. The Elbert mentioned is probably Mary Elizabeth’s youngest brother — Elbert Kelley. John Vanderpool was about nine years old and his sister, Nancy was seven. Elbert Kelley would have been a teenager, about 16 or 17 years old.

At first I thought it odd that Elbert would still be in school, but have discovered that children who lived in rural areas often went to school only when the crops and farm chores permitted—usually in the winter — and may have attended school only a few months each year. The four-mile jaunt to school postulates that they were indeed tough in the “good old days.” Walking eight miles a day provided plenty of exercise for those kids. The probably had chores after school, too.

In another part of the letter, Mary Elizabeth (my great-grandmother) records the only evidence we have about her “smart as a cricket” child who was born in March 1884 (and thus was 10 months old in January 1885). This child (sex unknown) died before 1900 and no other record has been found about him or her.

While the information about the price of crops, horses, store goods and the weather is of some interest, Mary Elizabeth, also gives us the exact birthdate of her brother Henry Kelley’s twin daughters — Dora and Cora —  and confirms that they are only 11 months younger than their big brother, Will Kelley.

Henry Kelley was born in 1857 in Clay County, Kentucky. He married 4 Feb. 1883 in Newton County, Arkansas to Mary Jane Henderson (1866-1920). Thanks to a letter that Henry wrote to this same uncle (E. C. Anderson) on 21 July 1883, we know more than just marriage facts. In it, Henry wrote:

“Uncle Clayton, I have taken me a woman. I was married the 4th of last February. My wife is 16 years old and she is black eyed, black hair and the same size of Sister Mary [who was my great-granny, Mary Elizabeth (née Kelley) Vanderpool, who my dad said was a "tiny thing"] and the prettiest girl you ever saw.”

Ephraim Clayton Anderson (1847-1918) married Nancy Trosper Jones (1839-1917) in Clay County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Even Jones and Mary B. Weaver. They lived most of their lives in Laurel County, Kentucky. He was a surveyor, farmer and justice of the peace. They had six children, including a set of twins, but only three children survived childhood.

The “Aunt Jane” referred to apparently is a sister of E. C. Anderson and Sarah (nee Anderson) Kelley. If so, she is believed to have married a Sampson Wilder as his second wife.

Thanks to the family letter writers and those who preserve and share these treasures.

03 September 2014

#30 Long Road Back to Georgia


Francis Marion Hensley (1841-1923)

Long Road Back to Georgia

Word rippled through Phillip’s Legion that Gen. Robert E. Lee was coming to inspect the troops. Estimates were that nearly 12,000 horsemen and battalions of horse artillery awaited Lee’s arrival.

Jeb Stuart
Francis Marion (called Marion) Hensley was a 21-year-old private in the cavalry and he was among those awaiting the general on the grounds of John Minor Botts’ farm just outside the town of Culpeper, Virginia on June 8, 1863.

Pvt. Hensley  and his 200 or so Cherokee County, Georgia neighbors who made up Company I/C of Phillip’s Legion had been assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia’s Cavalry Corps back in April. It had seen plenty of action and adventure. They were under the command of the dashing 30-year-old Major General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart.

Down in the ranks many rumors flew contantly, but one of them was true. That one was that the Army of Northern Virginia’s infantry was scheduled to march north the next day, with Stuart’s horsemen leading the way, scouting and screening the infantry’s advance.

Gen. Wade Hampton

Gettysburg East Cavalry Field1 by Hal Jespersen--Engelsk, Wikipedia

However, the Confederates did not realize that as General Lee inspected his troops, 9,000 Federal cavalrymen lay just across the Rappahannock River preparing to attack the following morning. For Francis Marion Hensley, this was the start of long series of skirmishes and battles leading to Gettysburg, where on 3 July in the East Cavalry Field, Phillip’s Legion, and others would be confronted by the 1st Michigan Cavalry led by Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

Then after a retreat back to Virginia, eventually he and 67 other Confederates would be captured at Milford Station and imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland.

Steamer New York at Aiken's Landing, Virginia. Library of Congress

Imprisoned for nearly 10 months, Pvt. Hensley finally was released in a POW exchange on 14 March 1865. He boarded the steamer New York and was exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. Three days later he was admitted to the Jackson Hospital in Richmond for “gelatio” — apparently a term for freezing or extreme chill. He was there for a week.

His last army record notes he was furloughed on 24 March 1865 for 60 days. That was about two weeks before General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The official records and family story about this ancestor having been "with Lee at the surrender" conflicted, but are understandable now in light of the dates and events.

From Richmond, Private Hensley walked home to Georgia — about 550 miles. The former cavalryman of Phillip's Legion finally arrived home -- horseless and “looking like a scarecrow” shortly before his 24th birthday.

07 August 2014

#29-52ancestors: Capt. James Vanderpool

#29—52 ancestors

Capt. James R. Vanderpool (1831-1880)

 I have an ancestor, loved and hated, depending on one's political views of the Civil War. One Confederate historian described him as "mean, bull-headed and ruthless." Another historian, with a Union bent, refers to him as a "courageous, honorable, and beloved by his troops." They are talking about the same man!

Union Officer's
Civil War
James R. Vanderpool, born ca 1831 in Indiana, was a blacksmith, married (to Anna Henderson), and father of three living in Newton County, Arkansas, when he enlisted in the Union Army on 21 June 1862. He was assigned to Co. B, 1st Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry. He served in it until he was discharged on 27 February 1863 to become captain of Co. C, 1st Arkansas Infantry Volunteers in which he served until the war ended in 1865.

Newton County, Arkansas was an isolated area in the Ozarks and in the early years of the war it did not affect the local people much.  However, by 1864, every able-bodied man of military age was in some branch of the army. This left only women, children and old men at home and they soon became a prey of bushwhackers who robbed and plundered everyone. Families of men serving in the military lived in constant fear of both the roaming bands of Confederate guerrillas and the bushwhackers. It became so dangerous that Union soldiers were unable to return to their homes to visit family without great risk of being shot by guerrillas. The Civil War split many families in this county and some families resorted to living in caves.

Living conditions during the war became so terrible that Capt. John McCoy, of Newton County, secured permission from Major General Frederick Steele to escort a wagon train of Union families to Springfield, Missouri. McCoy had served as State Representative from Newton County in 1858; and later, in 1864, he would serve as an Arkansas Senator. He was a vigorous opponent of the secession ordinance, voting against the Act under open threats that he would be shot down on the floor of the legislature. 

To escort the caravan he was assisted by Capt. James R. Vanderpool. They took 20 wagons of families. Early on during this trip, Capt. McCoy’s horse fell and landed on him, breaking five ribs. The accident confined McCoy to a bed in one of the wagons and that put Captain Vanderpool in charge.  According to the History of Newton County, by Walter F. Lackey, “as they were passing some fine plantation homes, a woman came out and cursed them and called them names, saying that a Rebel Army was in their path and that every d—— one of the men would be killed and their women and children would be sleeping in tents in less than a week.”

The caravan camped on the bank of the river that night and soon after they’d pitched camp, some steers belonging to the Rebel woman who had yelled at them earlier came near their tent and began bellowing at the Union troops’ steers.  Captain Vanderpool ordered his men to shoot the steers, saying “no d—- Rebel steers could bawl at his oxen.”

Newton County “produced two famous leaders, fighting for different causes,” Rose Lacy writes for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. They were “James Vanderpool, a Union hero who returned home in August 1865, and John Cecil, the former sheriff of Newton County, who was known for showing off his twin pearl-handled pistols that he had worn as a guerrilla leader for the Confederacy.”

Old State House 1865 Little Rock, Arkansas
In the spring of 1864, James R. Vanderpool was serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives as representative from Newton County. He was absent several times (obviously due his military duties) but appears in the Special Session in April 1865 (Journals of the House of Representatives of the Sessions of 1864, 1864-65, and 1865 — Arkansas Constitutional Convention). His son, John Anthony Vanderpool, age 3, died while the family was in Little Rock in 1865.

James R. Vanderpool

Soon after military service and legislative duties were completed, James and his family went back home to Newton County. Before the war he had purchased a small farm located on the mountain south of Jasper, but the house had been burned and the fences destroyed. He quickly constructed a small cabin and the following spring attempted to plant a crop, but the hard physical labor of farming proved much too strenuous for his failing health. In early 1868, he opened a mercantile business in Jasper, but he sold it about four years later and moved back to his mountain farm. He became seriously ill with pneumonia and on March 22, 1880 died at the age of 49. Just five months later, on August 16, Anna, his wife, died giving birth to their 11th child — a baby boy neither would ever know.

It is difficult to look at the lone picture I have ever seen of him and realize he was only about 48 years old. He looks so much older. Life was difficult in the mid-19th century, but military service was extremely hard on those who fought during the Civil War. I admit that I’m proud to say he is my 2-great-grandfather and confess that I look at his war-time service with pride and bias.

15 July 2014

#28-52ancestors: d'Anterroches-Vanderpoel


Surprising French Connection
Chevalier d'Anterroches and Mary "Polly" Vanderpoel

Julie d'Anterroches, wife of Warren Rogers--1839;
daughter of Louis-Joseph d'Anterroches and Mary Vanderpoel

Henry Knox (1750-1806) was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War. In 1787, he received a request from his former commander, General George Washington, to learn more about a particular Frenchman, whose “distressed” mother had written to Washington requesting assistance for her son who had come to America as a British soldier during the American Revolution.

Knox replied to Washington: New York 26th March 1787.

“I have attended my dear sir to your request respecting the Chevalier D'Anterroches and the following sketch is the result.

He is the son of a general officer in the French service, old and infirm; his uncle is the bishop of Condom [in southwestern France], rich, and miserly; besides which he is a relation of the Marquis de la Fayette. In the early part of his life, his father designed him for the church, and forced him to enter on studies necessary for the profession—as this business was his horror, he fled to England and enlisted as a soldier, but afterward became an officer, by what means does, not appear, but he came out to Canada with General John Burgoyne in the year 1776 or 1777, and was taken prisoner at Saratoga [New York].

On information that France had decidedly espoused the cause of America he [Chevalier D’Anterroches] left the service of England — whether he refused to be exchanged, resigned, or the precise means of leaving the British service, I cannot ascertain.

Some four or five years ago, he was at Chatham, Morris County [New Jersey],  in the house of a Mr. Pool, where he fell sick—Mr. Pool [David Vanderpool] is a shoemaker, his daughter was extremely attentive to the sick chevalier, who testified his gratitude on his recovery by marrying her. Two or three children are the fruits of the marriage. He lives on a small farm near Elizabeth Town, and is in great distress, but is in constant expectation of being relieved by his [wealthy] relations. His character is unexceptionable, and he is spoken of as a deserving man.

My own opinion is that nothing could more effectually please him than placing him in the French service, but his wife and children seems to be an insuperable bar to that idea — perhaps were you to write to the Marquis de la Fayette a letter calculated for him to show to the persons of influence, the poor chevalier might obtain some office in the customs, in the islands, or vice consul of these states by which he might maintain his family. I know of nothing in the gift of the United States at present which would relieve him — were it practicable for him to enter the service in a military line, the payments are so deficient that his family would starve.

I am my dear sir
Your respectfully & affectionate friend and very humble servt [servant]
HKnox [Henry Knox]”

It may be through the interposition of President Washington's influence that Joseph-Louis  D’Anterroches was made an adjutant general to the army commanded by General Henry Lee during the fall 1794 expedition to Western Pennsylvania in suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Joseph-Louis, Chevalier d'Anterroches was born at the Chateau of Puydernac, near Tulle, Limousin, France, on August 25, 1753. His parents were Jean-Pierre, Count d'Anterroches, and Lady Jeanne Francoise Teissier de Charnac. On his mother's side he was related to General Lafayette.

Chevalier d'Anterroches married Mary “Polly” Vanderpoel [as some of the family spelled the surname], daughter of Captain David Vanderpoel (1735-1821), at the Presbyterian parsonage in South Hanover, New Jersey on January 30, 1780 by the Rev. Ebenezer Bradford. The wedding ceremony was quiet and simple and not the usual large festive gathering, precluded by the severity of the weather and the unsettled condition of the country. Later an elegant trousseau was sent to Polly by her in-laws. The simple ceremony was not considered a sufficient compliance with the marriage laws of France, so seven years later a second ceremony was performed, according the rites of the Roman Catholic Church in the chapel of the French Legation in New York City.

The Vanderpoel family’s version of the meeting and courtship of Mary (called Polly) Vanderpoel and the chevalier differs somewhat from Knox’s, but these details are independently unverifiable. Her father, David Vanderpoel, was a tanner and currier by trade, and a soldier in the New Jersey militia. The family claimed he was a captain. Her mother was Deborah Lane (1739-1820). In the Dutch custom, their surname often was shortened to v. d. Pool (or Poel) or to just Pool. Her father objected to their marriage — some say because he was French, perhaps a spy, a paroled prisoner of war at the time, and had been fighting on the British side, but more likely it was a religious objection, since the Vanderpoels were Protestants.

By 1784, with the American Revolution ended and peace restored, the d’Anterroches settled down in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey. Years later, on a visit to his aging parents, his father died, and before Joseph-Louis  d’Anterroches could arrange affairs and get back to his wife and family in New Jersey, he died on 18 January 1814 — in his native land at the age of 60.

Mary “Polly” (Vanderpoel) d'Anterroches lived on in New Jersey and New York until 1844. When Lafayette revisited this country in 1824, she and her children were received at a private interview and embraced with the affection of a relative — as the children told their children.

They had 10 children, one of whom was Julie Francoise Gabrielle d’Anterroches (born in 1794) who married first Edward Griffith in 1811 and secondly, Warren Rogers in 1821. The 1839 watercolor-on-ivory portraits of Julie and Warren by the artist Theodore Lund (1810-1895) were donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by the family.

07 July 2014

#27-52ancestors: Kimbro

Kimbros -- Gone to Texas?

George Kimbro (1779-1860)

Dear 4g-grandpa, I am sure you didn’t mean to leave such a tangled mess of branches. After all, with your tidy Germanic background, you were kind enough to make a detailed will, and it is not your fault that the courthouse in Shelbyville (Bedford County), Tennessee was burned down by the Confederate Army forces in 1863, taking with it your 1860 will.

Lucky for us descendants, in 1865, the will was reconstructed from the memory of the minister who originally drew it up and the estate was then probated. In it, your nine children were named and because four of your sons had predeceased you, their widows (if they were still living in 1860) are mentioned and their children are named as heirs.

Bedford County, Tennessee Courthouse

The problem is the reconstructed will has conflicting information (nothing is perfect in genealogical records, is it?) regarding the children of your son, James (my ancestor) and whether they lived in Tennessee or Texas. Thank goodness for tax records as I finally have been able to determine that James Kimbro was in Bedford County, Tennessee paying taxes from 1836-1839 and probably is the one listed in that county in its 1840 census. Evidently he died before 1850, but not a trace of him has been found after 1840 in Tennessee.  So perhaps he went to Texas as did a couple of his brothers.

That’s why I started digging deeper in Texas records since I knew his brother, William, had gone to Texas as early as 1831 and Neely was in Shelby County, Texas by 1849.

William fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and was a sheriff in San Augustine County, Texas. I was hopefully that my ancestor had settled near him or Neely so I could put my quest to rest.
I have not been successful and while a great deal has been written about Captain William Kimbro in various histories of Texas, it is claimed that he came to Texas with a wife and son in 1831.
However, his two known children (mentioned in their grandfather’s will) were Martha Ann Kimbro and Benjamin W. Kimbro. They were born ca 1833 and 1839, so if there was a son born prior to 1831 he must have died young.

So far, I have not found my James Kimbro in 1840 to 1850 --  and Texas is a mighty big state.
But I found the following about his brother, William, in the "veterans’ biographies" of the San Jacinto Museum of History.

“KIMBROUGH, WILLIAM (ca. 1810–1856). William Kimbrough (Kimbro, Kimbo), soldier and law officer, was born in Bedford County, Tennessee, and moved to Texas in 1831 with his wife, Sarah, and son. They settled in David G. Burnet's colony about five miles west of the site of present San Augustine.

“In September 1835, with the coming of the Texas Revolution, Kimbrough raised a company of volunteer infantry in the area and served as its captain in Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. After San Jacinto, Kimbrough was captain of the militia company of the Northwest Beat of San Augustine County.

He served as sheriff of San Augustine County from 1836 through 1838, was elected sheriff on February 1, 1841, and held the office until 1843. He was re-elected in 1847 but did not serve through his term.

“In 1850 he was farming in San Augustine County and was elected justice of the peace of Beat Four. In 1853 he moved to Anderson County, where he lived until his death, on September 14, 1856. He was buried in Palestine, and in 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission marked his grave with a historical marker.”

While my quest to find James goes on, it is nice to learn more about the adventures of his siblings who went to Texas.  I may stumble onto something yet about my ancestor in the Lone Star State.

01 July 2014

#26-52 Ancestors: Unmarked Graves

Unmarked Graves
Pyrene (Christian) Connally 1808-1891, Murray County, Georgia

“Someday I will buy a tombstone for him so he will not be forgotten,” my maternal grandmother use to tell me. She and I went to the local cemetery when I was child, placing flowers on the graves of ancestors and relatives. Back then it was called Decoration Day — now it is Memorial Day — and grandmother told me about each person on whose grave we placed flowers. She certainly gave me a head-start as a family historian for her side of the family and for her in-laws who were buried in that location.

My tough Indian Territory-pioneer granny, undaunted by snakes, wasps, rats and tornadoes, always cried when we came to that unmarked plot for Francis Porter Fricks, her two-year-old son, who died of the croup in 1909. Losing a child has to be one of the most painful things a mother has to bear. I have discovered many of my ancestors’ histories are rife with information about their children who died young — many victims of childhood diseases — and others who died in accidents and wars.

Pyrene Christian and Samuel Connally who lived in Murray County, Georgia, had six sons. They lost their son, Drewry, when he was about 21 in 1853 (the reason is unknown). In the 1860 federal population schedule, Samuel and Pyrene are listed with four sons, ages 13 to 24 at home and nearby is their recently married 31-year-old son, Thomas Connally with his wife, Mary, and a baby daughter, Pyrene (obviously named for her paternal grandmother). Then came the Civil War.

They lost their sons Thomas, Francis M., David and Samuel fighting for the Confederacy in Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia and then on 24 July 1864, their next-to-youngest son, John W. Connally, age 20, was captured by the Yankees not far from the family farm. Taken to a graveyard near Jasper in Pickens County, along with other captured Confederate soldiers, he was shot and killed. His death was recorded in the Southern Watchman (a weekly newspaper published in Athens, Georgia) on 17 August 1864.

“The prisoners, disdaining the idea of being shot in the back, tore blindfolds from their eyes and about faced, opened their breasts to them, and in a few minutes were in eternity.”

Within four years, five of Samuel and Pyerene’s sons were dead from disease or battle injuries.
Samuel Connally died in 1878 and Pyrene lived on until 1891. They are buried in the Mount Zion Methodist Church Cemetery in Murray County, along with their son, Drewry, their only daughter-in-law, and her three-year-old child by her second husband.

Like the grave of my grandmother’s son, there are no markers for these five young men who died during the Civil War, and one can only imagine the pain and grief that Pyrene must have borne all those years because none of those sons came home and none of them were properly laid to rest with the rest of that family.

Pyrene (Christian) Connally, 1808-1891 -- thanks to the kind permission of Don Gresh.
Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery, Murray County, Georgia

Connally family stones in Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery
Thanks to the kind permission of Don Gresh (Find-a-Grave)
Murray County,Georgia